The recent incident in Aurora, Ill., in which a self-described satirical poem by poet George Miller was removed from the library, is troubling for many reasons.
An exhibit of artwork by current and former Guantanamo Bay detainees was recently on display at John Jay College. Because of the unique circumstances of the artists and their artwork, this show caught the attention of the Pentagon, which issued—then retracted—a statement threatening the destruction of these pieces.
The Herald Journal reported last week that Jeni Buist, principal of Lincoln Elementary School in Hyrum, Utah, shredded several postcard reproductions of artwork from the library’s copy of The Art Box, a collection published by Phaidon.
For a period of almost sixty years, the CMAA’s Comics Code attempted and largely succeeded in regulating the content of American comic books.
Challenges to books occasionally occur in academic libraries, but artwork is a more frequent target of challenges in academic libraries. I recently interviewed John Harer, an associate professor of library science at East Carolina University. In the 1990s he was working at Texas A&M when students launched a complaint about a piece of artwork that was hanging near the entrance of the library.
Last month the question of didactic art in schools was in the spotlight when Shepard Fairey’s “We the People” posters were removed from Carroll County Public Schools classrooms after complaints that the posters were anti-Trump. School officials claimed the posters violated the district’s policy against political speech by teachers in classrooms.