Last May a bunch of Brooklyn College MFA graduates exhibited their work at the War Memorial, only to have it banned by the Brooklyn Parks Department. In the process of hauling off the artwork the Parks Department deemed inappropriate, college officials managed to damange some of it. Two Trees Management (who is moving Galapagos to Dumbo) saved the day and exhibited their show at 70 Washington Street. Meanwhile, the students sued the Parks Department, the city and Brooklyn College.
This isn't the first time the city has attacked art. The Sensation show at the Brooklyn Museum was a controversial one in 1999. Giuliani tried to stop it, and attempted to prevent taxpayer funds from subsidizing the museum. In the end a ceasefire was called, and the City of New York and the Brooklyn Museum signed an agreement which put an end to the clash.
As far as the current case, the students charged city officials with censorship. Today the NY Sun reports that the city is backing down from the court battle - which would have tested its authority to ban offensive artwork in public spaces. Yesterday they apologized for shutting down the students show last year. Not surprisingly, since Bloomberg is a big supporter of the arts, "the Bloomberg administration is pursuing a more conciliatory path when accused of censorship than had the previous administration."
Each student (18 of them, and 1 teacher) will be paid $750 according to the Sun, however according to The Post - the payout is closer to $56K.
Photo of Britney statue via Clinto's Flickr.