A few months ago Austin hosted an art show by Chinese artists displaying portraits and paintings of Chinese people in cages, being tortured by their own government. Not surprisingly the art show has been banned in china. Today Rep. Borris Miles, D-Houston removed a few art pieces from the Death Penalty Art Show. When the show ran at Gallery Lombardi last May, the Austin Chronicle said "the show is nothing short of powerful.". The exhibit was organized by Texas Moratorium Network.
Now you might wonder what were those controversial art pieces that prompted Miles' action? The first one is an art piece by Shanon Playford titled "Doing God's Work". The second one is "Last Supper Trading Cards" by Annie Feldmeier Adams, which was awarded second prize by the jurors for the Gallery Lombardi show. The third one is a lynching art piece by Reinaldo A. Dennes.
I have always kept high standards for Rep. Miles. However today's events disappointed me. Rep. Miles does not have the power to confiscate the artwork owned by private individuals that were on loan to TMN for the display at the capitol. The sole purpose of showing the art pieces was to open a discussion about capital punishment and believe it or not this can not be done by censorship. Rep. Miles should not have taken the art pieces at his own discretion without first discussing them with the State Preservation Board. He may have opened himself up to charges of theft. These are valuable art pieces that should be handled properly. Would Rep. Miles pay to the owners of these art pieces any damages that might have been done? Now that our representatives can easily censor the freedom of speech in our State capitol, next they will probably close their office doors to anybody that disagrees with them. If we can not open a discussion about an important issue in our state, why should we expect the Chinese government to do the same? Maybe we should send these controversial art shows to another country like Iran for exhibition. I'm sure President Ahmadinejad would be happy to host an art show showing the hypocrisy of our Texas representatives.