Kathryn Garcia’s Girl With a Dildo Removed from Curated Exhibition [Updated]

by Corinna Kirsch on June 22, 2012 · 3 comments Newswire

The work in question: K. Garcia's "Carla O. Lisk."

30 minutes before the opening reception for In the Pink at Joe Sheftel Gallery, Kathryn Garcia’s artwork was removed. It wasn’t her decision, and it wasn’t the curator’s.

This kerfuffle happened suddenly. Thursday evening, the gallery’s director Joe Sheftel e-mailed the curator, Sarvia Jasso. He said that Garcia’s work, which had been installed earlier that morning in the main exhibition space, would be taken down and placed in the upstairs office.

Jasso pleaded her case, but to no avail. In a statement to AFC, Jasso wrote:

[Joe Sheftel said] it was still part of the exhibition because it was on the checklist. After a conversation where I expressed all of my concerns—including that he was undermining my curatorial decision and that it was disrespectful to everyone involved, including all of the artists in the exhibition—he refused to place the drawing back in its place.

According to Jasso, there had been telltale signs earlier on, that Sheftel “began insisting that we should get something else [from Garcia].”

Garcia was in Los Angeles, unable to attend the opening reception. We spoke with her over the phone, and she made clear that she doesn’t support the gallery’s decision:

It’s an injustice. Is it because I’m a younger artist? The piece is sexually explicit, but all of the work in the show is naked bodies. To do it at the last minute is not professional.

AFC had to ask Joe Sheftel about the artwork’s removal. He contends that Garcia’s work is still part of the exhibition. Well, it is and it isn’t. Garcia’s work may be on the checklist, but it won’t grab a collector’s attention if it’s not in plain sight.

We don’t know why Garcia’s work was changed at the last minute, but in a show filled with naked bodies, it seems like her girl with a dildo would feel right at home.

 
Update: Kathryn Garcia told us over email that the conflict has been resolved. Jasso and Garcia will be in New York in Mid-July and will rehang work in a “performative install.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.macfeat.3 Michael Macfeat

    The drawing in question is fairly tame fare by today’s standards. 
    Censorship never actually censors, it focuses attention on the censored work and reveals the censors as timid, puritanical and weak.
    They may have inadvertently done K. Garcia a favor.

  • jR harper

    Actually censorship works more often than it doesn’t. There’s always the risk that people will notice, but so much more often things are covered, hidden, destroyed, and stolen without many noticing. I watch it happen all the time. 

  • http://twitter.com/AntiquarianCook AntiquarianCook

    I’m just looking at the gallery website now and this work doesn’t look particularly shocking compared to the rest of the works.  It’s not the only image of a woman masturbating.  I’d like to heard Shetfel’s reasoning for removing it.  Could there have been something else going on?

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