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The National Coalition Against Censorship has edited video of “Policing the Sacred: Art, Censorship, and the Politics of Faith,” a session held during the 2011 CAA Annual Conference in New York, and posted it on YouTube in two parts. Links to the videos appear below.

In recent decades, the volatile relationships among art, politics, and religion have only intensified, as evident in the Culture Wars of the 1990s in the United States, the Danish cartoon uproar, and ongoing battles over artistic depictions of religious figures, including the recent removal of a David Wojnarowicz video from an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. This panel, moderated by Eleanor Heartney, an art critic and the author of Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art, brought together five artists and advocates who discussed the above issues and more.

Participating were Richard Kamler, an artist and educator whose installation of intertwined pages from the Koran and the Torah incited controversy in New Haven in 2010; the Bulgarian video artist Boryana Rossa, who spoke on behalf of her husband, Oleg Mavromatti, currently wanted by Russian authorities for “inciting religious hatred” through a performance in which he had himself crucified; Iranian artists and filmmakers Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari, who recently completed Women without Men, a film that evokes the religious, social, and political tensions surrounding the 1953 coup that brought the Shah to power; and Svetlana Mintcheva, NCAC director of programs, who recently wrote “Hide/Seek: Museums, Ethics, and the Press: A Symposium Report” for CAA.

In addition, the artist Joy Garnett reviewed “Policing the Sacred” for CAA’s 2011 Annual Conference Blog.

Watch the Video

Policing the Sacred, Part I
Policing the Sacred, Part II