Nida’s quilts were part of a special exhibit entitled People & Portraits organized by the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). The exhibit, including Nida’s quilts, had traveled with QuiltWeek to five cities beginning in mid-February before the Grand Rapids show.
The first quilt that AQS singled out as objectionable was titled “I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket,” a piece Nida made to help process a recurring nightmare in which she was losing things in a stream and nobody was coming to her aid. Nida was shocked and dismayed that her quilt was removed from the show and was further disheartened when she didn’t hear directly from AQS about the decision.
Her second quilt, “Fully Medicated,” was also pulled seemingly because each artist had two quilts on display in the special exhibit and having just one was not allowed.
Censorship is a central part of this story, and a vital topic for discussion among the art and craft community, but I think there’s another story here and that is about how companies respond to critical feedback online. Nida is a blogger. She publishes posts almost daily and on August 13 she wrote about what happened to her quilts in a post titled, “You Won’t Find a Penis at AQS Grand Rapids…” The reaction among quilters online was immediate and strong. Nida’s post was shared thousands of times on Facebook and inspired several strongly written and heavily shared blog posts by other quilters as well.
“I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket” by Kathy Nida
Photo courtesy of Kathy Nida
But for a long while, AQS didn’t. The AQS Facebook page continued to publish posts about their publications, patterns, and courses as though nothing had happened even when supporters of Nida flooded the page leaving critical comments and reviews, all of which were publicly visible like this 1-star review from Kathleen Tipton Sigg: “You should be ashamed of yourselves. To pull an ART quilt from a show is censorship in its worst form. What part of art wasn’t understood?”
Perhaps AQS was hoping the incident would fade away if they didn’t acknowledge it publicly, but their silence seemed to have the opposite effect. Quilters began expressing outrage on their own Facebook pages. AQS member Dierdre Abbotts took a picture of her membership renewal application on which she’d crossed out the renewal form and wrote, “I support Kathy Nida!” and added “censorship” to the list of the member benefits. She posted the image to her Facebook page where it got dozens of shares and comments. Still, AQS remained silent.
Emails to AQS requesting a statement, including my own email, went unanswered.
It seems to me that AQS failed to truly grasp how powerful social media can be when it comes to amplifying someone like Nida’s voice. Leanne Pressley, founder and CEO of Stitchcraft Marketing, advises companies on how to deal with these sorts of crises.
“The vocal consumer is garnering a lot more power and control and the impact on one’s brand can be swift and profound,” she says. “In our agency we advise clients to embrace criticism and use it as a tool to create brand advocates and increase loyalty with their consumer base. Every hater is an opportunity. Of course, most companies cringe at this perspective and just want to sweep bad reviews and negative feedback under the rug and move on but that’s just not an option anymore (as evidenced by the AQS debacle).”
“After receiving numerous complaints from attendees about a quilt in the SAQA exhibit, AQS removed the quilt from the People & Portraits exhibit at the Grand Rapids QuiltWeek event. Prior to removing the quilt, the feedback AQS received was not limited to one isolated comment. Attendees reached out to AQS staff at the show and via emails and phone calls to our office. Despite the removal of this quilt, AQS was able to display more than 700 other quilts at the show for viewing by the general public in Grand Rapids.”
AQS’s response seems glaringly incomplete. What were the complaints exactly? What is AQS’s policy regarding quilts that have already been juried into a show? AQS also chose not to post the statement publicly. They had taken the in-person complaints about the quilt seriously, but the online complaints less so.
Still, weeks later, AQS has made no contact with Nida. She feels that the incident, although wrongheaded in her view, could have been significantly allayed if AQS had communicated with her and with the online community rather than remaining silent. “They should have been on social media immediately. They should have been answering every email,” Nida told me. “I said in one of my posts that they easily could have just apologized, ‘We’re sorry this happened and we are reviewing our policies for the future.’ They wouldn’t have looked as bad as they do now…But they ignored us…they had no personal contact. They pretended it didn’t happen because they hoped it might go away.”
“Fully Medicated” by Kathy Nida
Photo courtesy of Kathy Nida
Nida is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the subject of her quilts. In February of 2011 she had a quilt in a Mancuso show in Hampton, Virginia, where “a viewer complained about a vulva that was actually in the piece” she says. In that incident the show organizers responded differently. “The Mancusos handled it much better. When Fox News showed up with a reporter, they let them do the story, left the quilt in the show, and probably made big bucks off of me. Then they left it in the remainder of the circuit,” Nida recalls.
AQS’s abbreviated and content-poor statement contrasts with the much longer and more heartfelt statement SAQA released two days later. Although late, it showed a willingness to engage with their constituents and to use this experience to reevaluate their policies. Their statement ended this way: “So artists, keep making your art. SAQA will continue to promote the art quilt through our varied exhibition program. And when the unexpected happens, we will react, reach for new understandings, and respond with improvement to our policies and programs.”
As Ackerman-Haywood points out, “In the end, the decision to pull the quilt from the show seems more controversial than the quilt itself, and it appears that the biggest mistake was not pulling the quilt, but refusing to talk about it.”
For tips on handling negative feedback online see our one-page infographic.
Excellent overview of the situation including the very poor response on the part of AQS. I am very excited that we ( BadAss QUilters Society / SPOOL) will have the quilts and the pins so that people can pick them up and wear them to the show. Mind you I have no real hope that AQS will change their mind. They are not exactly the hot-bed of forward thinking in the quilt world that is for sure. But I think it will be nice for quilters seeing other quilters and knowing that they are thinking the same thing.. We can only change minds and hearts one by one, after that the action follows.
I love this response, but I bet you $10 that some self-righteous buddy will go up to someone wearing that pin and says that it offends them.
And they’d be entitled to be offended. But they wouldn’t be entitled to force its removal.
Yes it will.definitely happen and then the pins will be banned
Sorry, they can’t ban the pins when they are being worn by private, paying attendees.
So what? There are lots of things I find offensive. Eh loaded weapons openly carried.
I would love to have some person come up to me and tell me they are offended. That is how dialogs start. If they continue to insist on being a closed-minded, self-righteous ass, I am free to walk away…..
Can those of us not in the area purchase some pins? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to share with my art quilt friends in Portland.
Would love to hear the story behind her quilts. I have a quilt titled, “Find the Penis”. It is dedicated to the men in my life and I wasn’t allowed to use that title in a show I entered. It has a strip of penis fabric purchased from Rainbow Resources for each of the men in my life. Too bad folks were offended, I’m offended that they were offended. Censorship seems to be quite popular these days. Keep on quilting!!!!
I’m coming to Spool and bringing friends!
..”not the hot bed of forward thinking….” LOL! For SURE!
Is there a way the rest of us can get these pins? 🙂
For sure. I know I would love one.
I din’t see a penis but I think there might have been a vigina or two!
Hooray for you, Maddie….You are my hero as is Kathy. Once again we find ourselves in the position of educating people that, just because it’s a quilt, it is still art. They wouldn’t demand the Sistine Chapel ceiling be painted over or, if they did, they would be shown the door…..so why is this any different? It’s art. It can be thrilling, enthralling, frightening, thought provoking and disturbing. What it should never be is censored.
Here here. Good job.
A few years ago, the Mancuso Show in New England had a quilt that depicted a elderly quilter sitting behind her machine in the nude. They chose to display the quilt behind curtains with a nudity warning for those who chose to view the quilt. I thought it was a tasteful way to show a quilt that some might view as obscene. I personally do not like any art form with nudity, I choose to just not look. But I would not object to others who like that type of art. It’s just a matter of personal preference.
We can all learn from AQS’s mishandling the situation. As Leanne Pressley said “we advise clients to embrace criticism and use it as a tool to create brand advocates and increase loyalty with their consumer base”. Though this can sometimes be harder said than done, I hope I can take the higher road if ever faced with such a situation.
Well I guess you won’t be going to the Sistine Chapel or see many of the paintings by the old masters …. let alone the sculptures.
You have that right. What a sad way to handle the quilter!!!
Oh, fer cryin’ out loud! That quilt was a delightful self-portrait made by the late Blanche Young of Hurricane, UT. Blanche was still quilting and lecturing into her 90s, sense of humor intact. More than I can say for a lot of people. SMH
I agree with Pauline. Michaelangelo ‘ s David is intact complete with marble penis and testicles. Shock horror.
Get out the smelling salts Doris, we just spent good money to fly to Florence and the least those Italians could do is cover up his genitals.
It’s a penis. It’s part of an art exhibit. Personally I hate paintings portraying hunting scenes, so I just walk past without looking at the bleeding stags.
Censorship is wrong, whichever way you look at it. Shame on AQS for not standing up for art. Shame on those people not mature enough to move past something they find distasteful.
I remember that quilt in that show! I also thought how incredibly stupid it was to hide it behind a curtain, like it was some kind of porno. I was offended they did that – but I just shook my head in disbelief and moved on. It was a remarkable piece and beautifully done. I’ve been more offended by some color and fabric choices in quilts deemed “permissible” to view than I ever have by a nude or an imaginary penis.
I think that may well have been my quilt? Life 4 – “Hello Dear, What Did You Do Today?” If it was, well thank you for those kind words! http://annabelrainbow.co.uk/?p=76 I thought it was so bizarre that it was shown behind a black curtain by Mancuso in the States, but wouldn’t have known anything about it if I hadn’t picked up on a posting somewhere else which had a photo of it at the show. When I wrote to the organizers and asked them to stop or return the quilt, they did show it without the curtain at other venues. I don’t really understand the view that my quilt, or indeed Kathy’s, were in some way obscene – nudity isn’t the same as porn. I’ve had to contend with some really nasty comments from the wider public too including trolling.
Annabelle I ADORE this!!! She’s fabulous. I’m glad I read this article or I’d have never seen your work.
As an artist classically trained using, gasp, nude models, I think it’s sad that people have taken something as magnificent and holy as the human form and projected their skewed attitudes onto it. Sad.
Thank you Joy!! Lovely to meet you. I also realized that I linked to the wrong quilt….this was the one that got me into trouble with Mancuso’s visitors! http://annabelrainbow.co.uk/?p=68
The effort that goes into a life painting/quilt is enormous. It’s really difficult to do and involves finding a truth between the hand, the eye and the object, and where you really have to look in order to master perspective, proportion, and foreshortening. This is why it’s taught in all good art colleges and universities – it’s a standard and essential part of the artists’ training.
Censorship in any form including curtains (like Iron Curtains) is dangerous for all of us. The problem is much bigger than simple nudity!
I am tempted to boycott the show here in Chattanooga, however, will be attending to support my local shops and vendors and will be proudly wearing my “Where’s the Penis” pin!
I will be waiting to see all the quilters saying “Where’s the Penis”, just like the Wendy’s ad campaign of old, “Where’s the Beef”!
This is a well considered article. I can’t fathom how people think they have a right to pull a quilt from an exhibit once it has been accepted, especially if it is part of an accepted special exhibit. SAQA could have said, “All or nothing”, calling AQS out. Nida is the Freida Kahlo of the quilt world.
Thank you for sharing this insightful article. Shame on AQS for their puritanical stance on art, but even more so for deciding which complaints garner more importance.
I think the organizations that receive complaints ned to counsel the offended parties to just look the other way. The world will never be tailor-made for anyone, and so those types of demands need to be moderated with the advice that averting ones eyes is the simplest solution.
Years ago in a Seminar on customer relations we were presented with a statistic: “Customers unhappy with your service or product will tell, on average, 13 other people. Happy customers tell about 3-4.” This whole affair is a grand example of the validity of that old information.
The trouble is, they feared the complainers were going to blow this up, and didnt have the courage to stand up to them. AND multiplied their error by not being open with the artist.
Exhibitions have long segregated nekkid stuff that some folks can’t or wont handle, as described above. I really dont understand why there wasnt already a standard procedure to tell the sort who cant deal with nakedness and body parts to avoid this area, or to just deal with it because ART.
This is a perfect example of why I- A MALE WITH A PENIS- who also happens to be an internationally recognized award winning fiber artist who makes art out of (primarily) textiles and whose primary art making tool is a sewing machine- won’t have anything to do with QUILTLAND anymore. It’s a joke. Censorship? Isn’t the internet great at allowing folks like me to voice our opinions on ignorance and stupidity? Yes- it is.
You have a penis????? How scandalous. Your name isn’t Anthony Weiner is it?
What will be next? Close all the museums that feature paintings of nude humans, or just remove all those paintings? Do they know that Rodin sculptures, Michelangelo, or Rubens paintings (just to name a few) would no longer be displayed? They’d also have to paint over the Sistine chapel ceiling. How many people saw the show prior to the quilts being pulled, and how many are the “numerous” close-minded individuals who thought the quilts offensive? I imagine the loudest voices were listened to, and AQS ran scared. Sometimes the squeaky wheel should not get oiled. What they could have done was put up a sign saying, “if the nude human body is offensive to you, we suggest not attending this show”. That would have been fair, and everyone would have had their rights respected. Now only a few wackos were heard.
I am making a nude quilt in honor of Kathy Nida and artists of this world. This is a disgrace to the art quilt community!!!!
I’m not a quilter, but I WANT A PIN!!
I need a pin, and I’ll probably be making a quilt with a penis sometime soon.
Great article! I will definitely stop by Spool for a button before going to AQS in Chattanooga!
AQS had become the ‘old ladies society’. The show management lives in the past.
Hey! Don’t go dissing “old ladies”! Some of the most prolific artists who depict the nude body just happen to be “old ladies”. Prudes and small-minded people can be any age.
What is going on in the world? Truly! This whole “I’m offended” thing is getting out of hand
We see it every day – in Facebook posts;on tv; everywhere we go – just about every time a person opens their mouth nowadays,they feel compelled to have to say “I don’t mean to offend,but….” Because heaven knows,there might be just 1 person who takes offense & then all hell breaks loose
I thought life was all about human beings expressing themselves? Yeah,not everyone is going to like everything they read or see,but that’s to be expected isn’t it? I’m pretty sure it’s impossible for a person to absolutely like & absolutely agree with absolutely everything that their eyeballs see & their ears hear. So when you don’t like something you hear or something you read,you either just move on – if it’s a piece of art that doesn’t suit your tastes – or you do try and get something done about it – if it was somebody being assaulted at the grocery store
See the difference there??
If it’s a piece of art that doesn’t float your boat,walk on – I’m sure there’ll be something else you’ll like around the next corner … If you see someone assaulting a person when you’re at the grocery store,then speak up & demand something be done
Could you imagine what this world would be like if the AQS were in charge of art across all genres?
“No,I’m sorry,but that statue will just have to be remade or it won’t be shown”
“No,Jesus can’t possibly be seen next to cherubs that have no clothes on,it will have to be repainted – Yes,the WHOLE cathedral please”
Free the penis
Free the nip
Free our rights to freedom of expression
Keep a persons right to say “I’m offended”
Keep them both at the sane time
Because that’s the world where grown ups live.
Thank you for this rational and adult response.
I am conflicted in my feelings about this affair.
On one hand it was very rude of the organizers of the show to pull Nida’s quilt from the show – hadn’t it already been juried in? It was even ruder not check the facts before making a decision based on unfounded accusations, and then fail to communicate with the artist.
I feel a certain compassion with the person or persons who complained – mainly for their inability to let go – beauty is in they eye of the beholder, after all. SAQA stands for Studio Art Quilt Association, and that should have given them a clue: some art deals with issues they might find disturbing, and that’s on purpose, to force us to think. The work itself, while not actually containing a penis, seemed (in my response to the art) to have a certain amount of implied “penisness”, and the second work did have a vagina right there for all of us to look at. We all know what to expect from Michaelangelo and other great masters – why should we balk at the human form in quilting?
But here I am, weighing in on a subject where the distinction between facts and opinions is blurred by internet outrage, and I confess not to have examined all the sources for veracity. Nida has a legitimate complaint, but the resulting campaign against AQS could be construed as cyber bullying. I have seen offhand comments blown up into viral outrage before, and the whole thing is getting worse.
Victorian restorers apparently revamped the ceiling bosses in England’s York Minster to depict Christ being bottle fed – and they removed some priceless (but nude) fresco work in the Chapter House because of those revered ‘Victorian values’. I don’t want to return to those times, not least because of the hideous double standards of the time.
Next AQS show, couldn’t we just have a ‘viewer discretion’ note in the front of the program?
I currently have an exhibition “The making of the Australian quilt 1800 to 1950” at the National Gallery of Victoria which consists of antique Australian quilts but many of them of course are English. One quilt is a delightful 1930 nursery rhyme quilt made as part of the school curriculum here in Australia… One block contains the nursery rhyme three little nigger boys…. When I arrived at the gallery to see how my quilts have been hung I noticed that something was placed across this block so no one could see it!!
Can one delete history? And I think the same replies to your comments on this contemporary quilt. Ridiculous
Yikes. Maybe the “N” word doesn’t have the same connotation in Australia…I’m certainly not offended by naughty bits, but that, yeah, I’d have problems with that. Nor would I put put anything with Nazi images. No, we’re not re-writing history, we’re respecting peoples who have been horribly abused. No one has been harmed by a hootie or a winkie. That’s just prudery. But racial slurs…
Spool is my LQS and just a few blocks from my house. Thanks to Maddie, but if you knew her, this response would not be unexpected. I have my Bad Ass button on my bag and have every intention to visit the shop, view the quilts, and add the Penis Pin to my bag. I urge everyone, whether or not they are attending the AQS show, to stop by Spool.
How can those buttons be purchased?
I’m sure that an old lady who is a member of the Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids complained.
Where can I get a pin?
I will be attending the Mancuso show in PA next month. Where can I get a pin to wear to the show? The world cannot cater to everyone’s whims and tastes. The quilt was juried in, end of conversation. Next we will be burning books again.
Well said, Pat. A slippery slope!
Fahrenheit 461; read it! Everyone! And do not forget to read the Afterword in which Bradbury responds to readers who were offended by it! They missed the whole point!!!
451, Anne. 451. Careful, the books will catch fire 10 degrees of Farenheit sooner than you might think! – A Bradbury Fan
Wow, I’m a ceramic artist, not a quilter but saw this post and just googled Kathy Nida quilts and her work is amazing! I thought quilting was formulaic and too “nice” for my taste, but I see they can be intriguing too. Hopefully this dispicable censoring will boost her career.
So sad that this happened in my home town of Grand Rapids, but not surprising. We do have quite a few narcissistic prudes here. I remember some years ago how some of them complained to the local paper about the bra ads. My husband still laughs about that.
What they don’t seem to understand is that it’s not just about them. You don’t have to like things but you do have to realize that others may. If you don’t like something just walk away. Spend your time appreciating what you do like while letting the rest of the world do the same. That is the message AQS should have given them instead of bowing to them.
I think that what this whole censorship debacle really shows is the need for a new venue to support art quilts. If Kathy Nida’s medium was oil painting instead of textiles, I could easily envision her thought-provoking work in any number of modern art museums. But really, there’s no reason why a textile work couldn’t be displayed in a modern art museum — they display so many different mediums. Without curtains or “disclaimers” about how art might make people uncomfortable by challenging deeply ingrained cultural beliefs about the inherent sinfulness of women’s bodies (except for airbrushed images of stick-figure celebrities with breast implants squeezed into tiny string bikinis — THOSE images of women’s bodies represent American Values and must assault our eyes in the checkout lines at every grocery store). But seriously, the French impressionists couldn’t get their paintings into the Paris Salon exhibits, ruled by backward-thinking Art Police who didn’t understand the new works, so those innovative new artists banded together to start their own exhibits. It looks like AQS wants to be the backward-thinking Quilt Police, so instead of buying protest buttons and then paying AQS for admission to their censored shows, I would like to see a national show specifically for art quilts like Nida’s that push the boundaries of the medium. And I hope that show would come to Charlotte or to Atlanta so I could see it!
SAQA has been actively (successfully) pursuing other venues for art quilts, in addition to quilt shows. The infographic in this post on the SAQA blog (http://www.saqa.com/weblog/?p=1828) details the range of venues in which SAQA exhibitions will be seen in 2016.
(Disclosure: I am a volunteer IL/WI co-representative for SAQA, curate regional SAQA exhibitions, and also handle SAQA’s social media.)
This is happening daily on college campuses, where speech and images are being censored daily – because of trigger warnings. If students are uncomfortable with a speaker, instead of not staying away – they scream and shout and claim hurt feelings. Ask any pro Israel speaker, even the Israeli ambassador was banned. What does that that have to do with ‘art’ you ask? Once speech and objects are banned somewhere because someone is uncomfortable, the phenomenon will spread. It may start in college but of course will move out into the larger world.
In this case the quilt world.
I dropped my AQS membership over 20 years ago when they rejected Jonathan Shannon’s “Amigos Muertos” quilt the year after he became the first male grand prize winner. News article: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19940403&slug=1903714
Photo of quilt: http://www.pbs.org/americaquilts/century/stories/jonathan_shannon.html
I first sent AQS a letter outlining my specific concerns about the issue, and received a form letter in return that didn’t respond to a single point I’d raised. It appears they haven’t learned a thing in 22 years.
I did too, Kristal. I didn’t understand their refusal of Mr. Shannon’s quilt. As you wrote, they haven’t learned much in the years following that rejection.
I’m an AQS member and wrote them an email telling them how unhappy I am with their decision and how it has made me unlikely to submit a quilt to any of their future shows.
I didn’t even receive an automated “we got your email” reply. Their silence is deafening.
Just a note: Kathy Nida said, on her blog, that people should attend the AQS shows, including Chattanooga, because the other quilters should get support and their work should be appreciated. This situation has caused her a lot of anguish, but she still has the decency to think of others. Many of us obviously abhor the censorship involved in removing her work from the Grand Rapids show. The fact that AQS has not had the courage or decency to talk to her about the situation compounds the shame. However, let’s follow Kathy’s suggestion and support other quilters. Write protests to AQS. Blog about the issue. Organize discussions about censorship and art. Make a penis quilt or two. Wear the pins. Go to the shows in support of quilting and fabric art!
Shame on AQS for the way they handled this. I personally need to make an art quilt of the beautiful body that we all have and should be proud of and enter it in an AQS show just to see what they will do. This handling of ART and the ARTIST appauls me. I feel that they are saying that quilters are not artists. We ARE ARTISTS! We choose to express ourselves with our ART. Last time I looked, we still live in the land of the free and have the right to free speech!
People who see obscenity in art happens their minds are obscene. AQS’s decision to remove the quilts is censorship at its worst. I am writing a strongly worded letter to AQS and it will include my membership card cut in pieces.
Such a great overview and summary of what transpired. My initial reaction is “have we regressed?”. Can you imagine if we never got to appreciate Michelangelo’s David? And here there wasn’t even a penis involved! Art is all about freedom of expression, if we no longer have that, where does that leave us?
Come on America! It’s only a body, we all have one!! Quilting and sewing is no longer the preserve of old ladies (although, I am one!) with old ideas. It’s an art form!! If you don’t want to look at it on display, walk past!
Amazing article that showed the whole story. Thanks for your thoughtful reporting. And I want a button too.
Thank you for the well written article and showing the Art Quilts.
Art is truly an expression and a personal one at that. Great Art stirs emotion and is not always liked, but through time and pushing the envelope, making people gasp, think, talk, cry…we reach others. Most of the incedible artist were only really appreciated much later. Do what moves you and expect it not to be loved by all and you will be happy. <3
This post was excellent and I also enjoyed the Comments! Overall the art quilting community is filled with very cool and enlightened individuals!
That is soon sad. Sure, they are pretty graphic, but they are art. There are several pieces of art in various museums around the world that show just as graphic illustrations of the human body and you don’t see those being removed. If you don’t like it, move on. But I bet the people who complained actually sat there staring at every little detail of those quilts before finally decided that they didn’t like them and were offended. Even so, there are other people who love them, so why not just let your thoughts be your own and let everyone else decide for themselves. How are we supposed to learn and grow if a small portion of people don’t let us have our own opinions? Personally, I don’t care for them, however, I appreciate the art, the dedication, the effort, the color, the thought provoking imagery. I would’ve moved along, and let the person behind me give it their own evaluation.
Reminds me of a quilter in Hawaii, whom I recall in the early 80’s made a quilt that depicted her and her husband in bed. Not that it was all that revealing, but it was a black and white couple and the shockwaves and sensorship in the “art” community of quilting band this quilt from shows. Your post is revealing and certainly AQS needs a much needed wakeup call. If it is to advocate “art” quilts, it (as well as all of us) need to embrace art quilts with free speech. Pulling this quilt from an AQS exhibit is sensorship. Sorry some person was upset, but it is still art and should be juried in and supported for exhibit based on the artistic merit and not blocked by the subject.
Good grief, if you don’t like it, don’t look at it. Don’t force your inhibitions on everyone else.
I guess they wouldn’t display Frida Khalo’swork either. Pathetic, small minded and sad.
I wish the entrants would pull all their quilts out of the show, I wish protesters with signs marched at the entrance and I wish everyone would cancel their membership. And I wish everyone would boycott the show and not attend. It is just appalling. I would not ever try to get a quilt in their shows. This is just not about censorship, this is about ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, power and hate. Seriously, what is underneath the complaints? What is underneath the decision to take them down? What is underneath their non-responsiveness to not respond to all the voices heard round the quilting world? IT was so easy to censor wasn’t it, but now they run away and hide. I am sick.
I noticed Kathy’s quilts were missing from the SAQA exhibit at quilt week in Syracuse, but kind of assumed there were two traveling exhibits and hers were in the other one. I’d love to know why they weren’t even hung in Syracuse!! Or maybe they were and some prude objected.
I also want to know how to get a pin!
I am a retired studio art professor who specialized in life drawing and figure painting (although several decades ago I made a few quilts as well as fabric projects). This incident reminds me of a visit to the Vatican collection in Rome during the 70s. Every single penis was crudely masked with a slab of clay (no attempt to match the color or original material). By the time we exited the collection, I was crazed. There is nothing like making something taboo, to give it power. The human body is magnificent, interesting, and truly remarkable. If it is not interesting to you, simply walk by.
This may be crass but we live in America! Speak out with your checkbooks. Don’t go to future AQS shows and don’t join or renew your memberships. Lost revenue is a real attention getter.
As a resident of Grand Rapids, I am surprised and not surprised by this. On the one hand, we have an annual event called ArtPrize which spans the entire city and yes, there have been nudes (last year’s winner was a feminist performance piece that featured women in white dresses swinging in and out the windows of a house painted pink on the outside and red inside — basically, the house represented the womb and the women were either being born or were tampons, I could not decide which). On the other hand, this is the home of Amway, and there are a lot of Dutch Christian Reformed churches. So while GR likes to think it’s “hip and happening,” it is full of white conservative tight-asses who love to be offended. On behalf of the non-prudes of my town, I would like to apologize to Kathy Nida, and add that I am joining the boycott of AQS. As an artist and writer, I am against censorship in any form but especially when it comes to creative expression — if you don’t like it, look away.
You can read about Kathy Nida in lots of places, but we’ve just published an article written by her explaining how she feels about censorship, and what the future holds for her work. You can read it here: http://www.throughourhands.co.uk/2017/02/11/kathy-nida-quilt-artist/
I loved this piece and shared it on my Facebook page. Thank you for giving Kathy such a great space to share her experience.
Sorry Abby, and thank you, we’ve only just caught up with this by following a link from our website. It was a very great pleasure and we loved hearing Kathy’s thoughts about her treatment.