Vanilla Beer artist


It may come as a surprise to find that most artists have a tale of censorship to tell. We assume that the artists' voice is wild and free; not so.

On the drop down bar are some of my stories of censorship; at the Royal Festival Hall, at Hall Place Bexley and at Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight. I have added the tale of Damien Abbott's experience at the Royal Academy of Arts, which seems to me a classic piece of hidden censorship.

Writing these pieces brought home to me how many people are involved in making an arts-based project. Obviously there are the actual sponsors but also the friends and the long-suffering family of the artist, the people who get bullied into helping call a piece into being, the team at the venue who have stuck their necks out, gone the extra... many other people have emotional and financial investments in the work. When a show is closed or culled or questioned, it isn't only the long-suffering and generally unpaid artist who suffers - when they have their professionalism questioned all their support team is undermined.

The arts seem to be secondary to other concerns, be it political or the directors' bad hair day. The Powers are whimsical and there is little the artist can do in self-defence. Next time you see an exhibition, consider what it took to get it there - and also how much of it might be missing.