Solidarity Against Censorship

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Gallerist Jack Shainman and artist Nick Cave are reaching out to ask the public to stand in solidarity against censorship in the arts, and in support of an installation currently on view at The School | Jack Shainman Gallery. While turmoil and insanity continues to brew in our nation’s capital, the village of Kinderhook has doubled down on their assertion that Nick Cave’s "Truth Be Told" is not a work of art and are calling for its immediate removal. The egregious call to remove this artwork has repercussions that reach far beyond The School to issues of suppression, underscoring the kinds of microaggressions that chip away at the voices and freedoms of artists, arts organizations and beyond.

Please find below an open letter that Nick has written.

Our hope is that with your signature, we can stand together against the forces seeking to stifle the arts and its power to affect lasting and meaningful change. 


Open Letter: Truth Be Told

I stand against censorship and fundamentally oppose it for all reasons and at any scale.

Censorship puts our most visionary thoughts in jeopardy of being heard, specifically those by artists and those by minority groups, of which I am both.

On November 2nd, my design partner, Bob Faust, and I installed a work on the façade of The School | Jack Shainman Gallery in Kinderhook, NY, which reads “Truth Be Told” in large, bold letters. It is an artwork and act of protest. It is also an illumination of propagated falsehoods throughout American history through to today. In response, the town’s board has called for the removal of the artwork, first on the grounds that it’s flammable, and when that was refuted, claiming it’s “not art, it’s signage.” It is ironic that a work promoting truth-telling has been met with distrust and deceit.

Censorship is a crime against communities, progress, and enlightenment, not individuals. I know that the town of Kinderhook is not censoring the words I’ve formed, but rather the meaning that they’ve assigned to them and in turn the ability of others to have access to my provocation. They are censoring the words of a Black man in a moment when our country, more so than ever, is divided on the basic principles of fact and fiction. This is not about me, but about those who come after. I am not the one who stands to lose.

While "Truth Be Told" may be inflammatory and a sign of the times, it is in no way flammable or signage. On January 25, 2021, a final meeting will be held in Kinderhook to determine the fate of this work. I ask that you stand with me against censorship by signing your name below.