Friday, December 8, 2023

In the age of political correctness, VARA may be the last hope


Is anyone keeping a list of the number of recent artworks that have either been removed or destroyed due to political correctness?

Add Erika Rothenberg’s Hollywood sculpture, The Road to Hollywood, to the list. Rothenberg’s art work was removed due to the recent misgivings of the Hollywood industry.

In response to an inquiry, Hollywood & Highland management issued a statement saying that “in light of current events we have deemed this component of ‘The Road to Hollywood’ to be insensitive and it has been removed from public display.”

Longtime LA art critic, Christopher Knight, correctly points out,

More unexpected, and in certain respects more disappointing, is the applause that censorship has garnered in some corners of social media and the internet. It’s a testament to how our new digital mob-ocracy operates.

Fortunately, in her defense, Rothenberg has that little and sexy federal law called the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) to wield. Unfortunately, VARA can only be enforced by the artist, so if Erika Rothenberg decides not to pursue a VARA claim, for whatever reason, this debate is moot. Once an artist agrees with censorship, or self-censors, the fat lady has officially sang her tune.


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