ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Their solution is to violate the Constitution . . . by abolishing the tradition of public exhibits in the County Administration Building. It seems that if they have to respect
the First Amendment, they will punish all artists and art patrons in the process
“Free Leonard Peltier” Gladys Barker Grauer
Gladys Barker Grauer Defends Artistic Freedom
“Free Mumia Abu Jamal” and “Free Leonard Peltier” Removed from Exhibit
Newark, NJ – On Friday, January 26, 2007, Newark artist Gladys Barker Grauer received the surprise of her life when, moments before the opening of the 15th annual Art in the Atrium exhibit at the Morris County Administration and Records Building in Morristown, New Jersey, two of her works were pulled from the exhibition. The show is a tribute to African American master, Charles W. White (1918-1979) and features many of his works among that of 20 other African American artists. News of this event has garnered attention from as far as Texas.
Morris County officials removed two of Grauer’s works, “Free Mumia Abu Jamal” and “Free Leonard Peltier”. Both pieces are woven with plastic bags cut into strips on a four-harness floor loom. The images are painted on the surface with acrylic paint. County officials claimed that the pieces were removed because they were considered “offensive.” Jamal was convicted of killing a police officer in Philadelphia in 1981 and Native American Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents in South Dakota.
According to the show’s curator and Art in the Atrium co-founder, Viki Craig, a particular objection came from the Morris County Prosecutor Michael M. Rubbinaccio who was angered by the placement of the controversial works across from his office. Rubbinaccio has denied having any involvement in the removal of the works, but County representatives concede that the works were removed by employees at the direction of at least one County official.
On February 6, 2007, Grauer filed a Federal lawsuit in Newark stating that her First Amendment rights were violated by the removal of the works from the exhibition. “Art is a form of expression. When government takes any kind of action to limit the exhibition of works that express ideas, that’s censorship,” says Ms. Grauer, a nationally renowned artist. Before the case was heard, Morris County officials agreed to re-hang Ms. Grauer’s artworks in the public exhibit.
“The County violated the First Amendment by removing my works. Though forced by a lawsuit to re-hang them, they still refuse to respect the First Amendment,” says the frustrated artist. “Their solution is to violate the Constitution even further by abolishing the tradition of public exhibits in the County Administration Building. It seems that if they have to respect the First Amendment, they will punish all artists and art patrons in the process.”
The works were reinstalled but the County has yet to apologize to Ms. Grauer or to the public for interfering with the exhibit.
Ms. Grauer sees ongoing challenges to the First Amendment and artists’ freedom of speech. According to the artist, some County officials have threatened further infringements on artists’ free expression of ideas ranging from discontinuation of the annual Black History Month show, to hiring a full-time censor, to closing the public gallery all together.
On February 18, Ms. Grauer spoke at the 1978 Maplewood Arts Center in Maplewood, New Jersey on “Artists and the First Amendment vs. Morris County Freeholders.” Her talk was followed by a book signing with Barbara Kukla, author of Defying The Odds. Ms. Kukla is a former writer for The Star-Ledger. Gladys Barker Grauer is one of the women featured in Ms. Kukla’s book.
Several of her works are currently on view in the exhibition “Celebrating African American Women Artists” at the Brennan Gallery of the William Brennan Court House in Jersey City, New Jersey. That exhibit runs through February 28, 2007.
For additional information, please email Ms. Grauer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Celeste Bateman & Associates http://www.celestebateman.com / (973) 705-8253 / For an interview with Gladys Barker Grauer, please contact Celeste Bateman & Associates.
Gladys Barker Grauer has been an exhibiting visual artist since 1946. Born in Cincinnati, she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Loyola University and Rutgers, and came to Newark from Chicago in 1957. Her works are displayed in galleries around the country and in Senegal. In 2005, the Newark artists work came home to Newarks Rutgers University campus. Grauers paintings, assemblages and mixed media works were shown at the Paul Robeson Art Gallery that fall, while an exhibition of her wearable art, crafts and dolls were displayed at the campuss John Cotton Dana Library. Grauers works are on permanent display in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Museum of American Art; the Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, NJ, The Newark Museum, the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers-New Brunswick, and the Morris Museum, among others. She also has shown her work at numerous college galleries, libraries, and corporate art galleries of London, New York (MOMA), Washington, D.C. and Maryland. After raising four children, she opened the first African American art gallery in Newark, NJ in 1971. She also taught art at the Essex County Vocational School until retiring. At 80, Grauer remains an active artist. She now works with paint and mixed media, is a popular speaker on the arts and volunteers with community and youth organizations. She is both a guest artist and painting instructor at The Newark Museum, and is an artist-in-residence with the Arts Council of the Essex Area. Grauer also is a mentor with the City Without Walls gallery. Ms. Grauer gives slide presentations for all ages on her unique work and workshops on various topics related to art. CelesteBateman
* * * * *
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
* * * * *
By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”
* * * * *
By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
update 14 December 2011