In the Blog
York U Bookstore Pulls Artwork
stef lenk and Shannon Gerard’s “Playing Doctor” exhibition has been pulled from the York University Bookstore window only 7 days after it was installed. The reason? Some higher-ups at the University demanded it’s removal. Apparently a nameless professor who lives on the campus found it offensive and was afraid his son might see it.
The exhibit actually happily hung in Toronto’s Pages Bookstore’s front window for a while, celebrating the dual launch of lenk and Gerrard’s books at a This is Not a Reading Series event back in August.
Richelle at BlogTO reports:
I asked the gallery’s Assistant Curator, Emelie Chhangur to describe what was in the window of the bookstore: “Playing Doctor was comprised of lenk’s operating table and Gerard’s cut out figures of a man and a woman with crocheted boobs and dinks, (the parts of the male/female body affected by cancer). Gerard’s books, and video + small “kits” contain DIY instructions on how to check yourself for testicular and breast cancer. lenk’s operating table brings it home with reference to the children’s game, this time with hand drawn body parts and a hand painted figure on the table. The art work is fantastic, fun, accessible, and educational.” How a giant board game and information about cancer could taint a child is beyond me.
I was at the TINARS launch in August and was particularily moved by what Gerard was aiming to accomplish with her detection kits. Her honesty regarding her and her partner’s own experiences with “finding a lump” and her bravery in expressing it through her work was inspiring. In my view, the “kits” she had on offer at the event were a real step in the right direction; they opened up an early detection dialogue, and aimed to make people comfortable and aware of their bodies in order to save their lives. Her entire performance (which included a an informative yet hilarious video) humanized and inspired.
Both lenk and Gerard’s work is specific to the female body in an uncommonly non-sexualized way; with their images they point to an empowered awareness and self-ownership, which I would argue is very feminist.
This kind of ridiculous censorship is a disgrace.