Category: Arts:Visual Arts

Tiffany Jenkins talks to key figures in the arts about the big ideas rocking the cultural world, charting the trends and dissecting the controversies.

Cancelled! Censorship and self-censorship in the arts

January 23, 2020


Censorship of the arts is on the increase: both that imposed from above, by the state, but also from below, with artists calling for works to be taken down from display. This episode of Behind the Scenes of the Museum brings together three experts – Julia Farrington, Associate Arts Producer at Index on Censorship, artists mentor Manick Govinda, and the art critic JJ Charlesworth – to discuss the significant cases, and analyse what is going on: what is new (as compared to the old style Mary Whitehouse kind of censorship); why do institutions capitulate so easily to complaints; and what is to be done.  


Julia Farrington, Associate Arts Producer,  Index on Censorship. Twitter: @IndexCensorship

Manick Govinda, Arts consultant and mentor. Twitter: @manick62

JJ Charlesworth, Critic, Art critic, senior editor ArtReview. Twitter: @jjcharlesworth


1.   Homegrown: commissioned by the National Youth Theatre 

See also, Channel 4 news report, with an interview with the director Nadia Latif 

2. Isis Threaten Sylvania , the Mall Galleries

3. Saatchi Gallery covers two paintings by an artist known as SKU 

4. Drill music removed from You Tube

See also, Gang members banned from making Drill music 

5. Brett Bailey’s, Exhibit B 

Petition: 'Withdraw the racist Exhibition "Exhibit B - The Human Zoo" from showing at the Barbican from 23rd-27th September 2014'

See also, this news report & discussion on BBC1 Sunday Morning Live, from 28 Sept 2014.

Louise Jeffries from the Barbican on Radio 4's Front Row on why and how the Barbican cancelled Exhibit B. 

6. Protests over Dana Schutz's portrait of Emmett Till at the Whitney Biennial 


Are we entering a new age of artistic censorship?  Tiffany Jenkins New Republic 

Other cases, including those tackled by Julia Farrington & examples of institutional training to deal with sensitive subjects

How the Dana Schutz Controversy—and a Year of Reckoning—Have Changed Museums Forever, Julia Halperin


Signature tune: Nick Vander Black Kopal - Galaxy II 


Pictures of the artwork and clips of news reports are available on Instagram and Twitter account: @behindthemuseum


This episode of Behind the Scenes at the Museum was written and presented by Tiffany Jenkins and produced by Jac Phillimore.