05/26/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The Museum of Censored Art’s organizers Mike Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone recieved the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award for intellectual freedom from the American Library Association this past Tuesday. The ALA works to stamp out censorship in the United States. Blasenstein and Iacovone set up their museum after the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery was forced to pull a film clip from the late gay artist David Wojnarowicz by Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough.
Clough caved to pressure from anti-gay groups as well as several anti-gay politicians such as Representatives John Boehner and Eric Cantor, neither of whom saw the clip. The Smithsonian Board of Regents later expressed support for Clough’s actions and refused to restore the censored work.
The two issued the following statement:
“We are honored by the American Library Association’s recognition of our efforts, but we can’t help pointing out that Secretary Clough and the Smithsonian Board of Regents could easily have been the recipients of this award instead of us. In fact they should have.
“We would rather have not had to do the Smithsonian’s job for them, but we are grateful that we had the freedom to do so along with our many volunteers, donors and community partners, without whom the Museum of Censored Art would not have been possible.
“We thank the American Library Association for this award.”
So far, the Museum of Censored Art has had nearly 6,500 visitors.