Friday, December 16, 2005

A BLAST from the past!

I remember the day Chicago Police Superintendent Leroy Martin and three aldermen ordered the arrest of a painting hanging inside The Art Institute of Chicago. That's right, a painting! It seems that the real beauty of this "art" was somehow lost on these Black officials while gazing on the work by, senior student David K. Nelson.

The subject of the painting was the late Mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington. Yup, he's the same guy who served 30 days in the Cook County Jail for income Tax Evasion in the 1960s. I think the other candidates for mayor wanted to hang a sign on the jail, "Washington slept here." during the election canpaign.

Rumor had it that Harold was Gay and got some unwanted help with his Gay Pride issues from Mr. Nelson. Needless to say the painting pled NOT GUILTY and somehow managed to beat the rap. I think Greylord lawyer, Dean Wolfson somehow fixed the case for the painting. I wonder where that artistic item hangs today.

The post script to this story is that the litigation got out of hand with the City of Chicago's foolishness and this stunt cost the taxpayers more than a million bucks.

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Anonymous said...

Harold was one twisted fellow...

Anonymous said...

I disagree, Harold was a great mayor and all that stuff about him being gay was dreamed by racists.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd take Harold any day over King Richie, although his taste in lingerie is questionable...

Anonymous said...

Description of the Art Work
Nelson's painting depicted then recently deceased mayor, Harold Washington, in women's lingerie.
Description of incident
On May 11, David K. Nelson, a graduating senior at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, chose to exhibit a painting of the late Mayor Harold Washington. The painting was exhibited for less than an hour when members of the school staff, who were offended by the painting, brought it to the attention of the administration. Many expressed revulsion at the work and recommended its removal. Phone calls expressing objections towards the painting began flowing into the school the next day along with the arrival of press photographers and reporters.
David Nelson contacted school administration two days into the controversy. The administration requested Nelson to voluntarily withdraw his painting from the exhibition, but he wouldn't decide until the following day. That same day, Chicago Aldermen William Henry and Ernest Jones arrived at the school, accompanied by three uniformed police officers. The aldermen expressed their objections to the painting in front of the cameras and other press. Ignoring the protests of students and school security, the aldermen removed the painting from exhibition and placed it on the floor, facing the wall. Students who had witnessed the removal of the painting hung it back up on the wall.

As several more students and members of the press gathered around the painting, more aldermen arrived and forcibly removed the painting from the exhibition and attempted to take it out of the building, but security stopped them and suggested speaking with the president of the school, Tony Jones.

The aldermen arrived in the Jone's office with two plain clothes police detectives and the painting with a six inch gash in the canvas. Members of the school's and museum's public affairs offices were called in along with higher ranking police officers called in by school security. This meeting lasted two hours, while the school's staff discovered that they had met with Nelson's impostor that day and would not be able to reach the real Nelson for the entire four day dispute.

The aldermen stated to school officials and police that they were carrying out a city resolution to remove the painting, but in actuality the resolution was only a request for the removal. Aldermen then convinced police to "arrest" the painting and removed it from the building.

Results of incident
A Judge ruled four years after the incident that three aldermen had violated Nelson's first amendment rights, and as a result would receive damages escalating into millions of dollars.
Source: CAC Censorship Archive

Anonymous said...

Stupid politicians always seem to place themselves avove the law and never get puniished.

Anonymous said...

If I was on the scene when that all went down, I would have at least tried to arrest the alderman who took the painting down. Natually, I would have had to follow orders of superiors, but I would have tried. What is the worse they could have done to me? Send me to the duece! Shit, I worked all my days off in PHS.