Wednesday, October 2, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

GW Culture Buffs at the Corcoran: 6.13.89 The Cancelling of the Mapplethorpe Exhibit (Washington, DC)


Corcoran School of the Arts & Design
Flagg Building
500 17th Street NW
           *Talk: Room 216
           *Reception & Exhibit: The Atrium Galleries
Washington, DC 

Event Description

Join fellow alumni for our first GW Culture Buffs event of the academic year.

The culture wars of the late 1980s and 1990s challenged many American museums including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which found itself in the center of a storm around their cancellation of “The Perfect Moment,” an exhibition that celebrated the work of artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Dr. Kym Rice, CCAS PhD '15, Interim Director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design and faculty in the Museum Studies Program, tracks the story from beginning to end and discusses how the school’s current archival exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the Gallery’s decision-making. Afterwards, join us for a reception and self-guided tour of 6.13.89: The Cancelling of the Mapplethorpe Exhibition.

6.13.89: The Cancelling of the Mapplethorpe Exhibition explores the highly politicized and publicized cancellation of the 1989 exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment. On June 13, 1989, the Corcoran Gallery of Art bowed to significant political pressure and canceled the retrospective less than three weeks before it was scheduled to open to the public. The impact of the show’s closure reverberated throughout Washington and the museum community nationwide, and it remains a cautionary tale for institutions. The controversy has long sparked discussions on the role of artistic freedom and the dangers of censorship of museums. 6.13.89: The Cancelling of the Mapplethorpe Exhibition will shed light on what happened behind the scenes at the Corcoran.

Registration is $15 and includes the faculty talk, a reception with food and drink, and the self-guided tour of the exhibit. Please register your attendance in advance. Please note that space is limited and tickets are limited to two per order (alumni plus one guest). 

Online registration for this event has now closed.