Museum of Censored Art Given ‘Intellectual Freedom’ Award by American Library Association
WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011–Museum of Censored Art organizers Mike Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone today were given the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award for intellectual freedom by the American Library Association, one of the nation’s most prominent anti-censorship organizations.
Blasenstein and Iacovone set up their museum in a trailer outside the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery to screen a film by gay artist David Wojnarowicz after Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough censored the work less than 24 hours after being targeted by anti-gay groups and politicians. The Smithsonian Board of Regents later expressed its support of Clough and declined to restore the censored work.
The two activists released the following statement:
“We are honored by the American Library Association’s recognition of our efforts, but we can’t help pointing out that Secretary Clough and the Smithsonian Board of Regents could easily have been the recipients of this award instead of us. In fact they should have.
“We would rather have not had to do the Smithsonian’s job for them, but we are grateful that we had the freedom to do so along with our many volunteers, donors and community partners, without whom the Museum of Censored Art would not have been possible.
“We thank the American Library Association for this award.”
Blasenstein and Iacovone will receive the award on June 25 at the Association’s annual conference in New Orleans. The ALA’s announcement is posted online at: http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pr.cfm?id=7260
The Museum of Censored Art (http://dontcensor.us) operated from January 13-February 13, 2011, outside the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. It screened the censored Wojnarowicz film and presented exhibits about the censorship controversy itself to nearly 6,500 visitors.