Tag Archives: News

Sara Ross

News Piece of Interest: Smithsonian article on the Robert Mapplethorpe obscenity trial, in Advance of Cincinnati Retrospectives

Mapplethorpe work at the Gene Frankel Theatre - Wikipedia commons

(Photograph of Robert Mapplethorpe sculptures at the Gene Frankel Theater in NYC)

On October 2, 2015 Smithsonian Magazine published an excellent retrospective article entitled “When Art Fought the Law and the Art Won”, in which author Alex Palmer discusses the Mapplethorpe obscenity trial in the context of modern art law. An excerpt of the article reads:

Twenty-five years ago, art was put on trial in a highly publicized and political showdown. The Mapplethorpe obscenity trial—the first time a museum was taken to court on criminal charges related to works on display—became one of the most heated battlefronts in the era’s culture wars. Taking place over two weeks in the fall of 1990, the resulting attention challenged perceptions of art, public funding, and what constituted “obscenity.” A quarter century on, the trial’s impact can still be felt, and is being recognized in Cincinnati, the city where it all took place, with a series of events and exhibits.
You can read more at the article’s home here.