Photographer Pacifico Silano cancelled his public exhibition in Bal Harbour, Miami on 23 October 2018 after city officials allegedly tried to censor “inappropriate” photographs and remove LGBT references from his press release.
“I couldn’t compromise my values as an artist and a person and go through with this show,” Silano said on social media.
“The city rewrote my press release to remove all mentions of the words ‘queer’ and ‘gay adult magazines'”, Silano said.
“The mayor took exception to my photographs involving bodies and deemed my work inappropriate for families.”
“My work is about the ways we can reinterpret photography and the history of HIV/AIDS within the lgbtq community,” he said.
“That seemed to make the mayor and the city of Bal Harbour uncomfortable.
“They wanted to have blank spaces in place of work that had been censored.”
Jose Diaz, the chief curator at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh who had worked with Silano on the project, said it was with “disappointment” they were withdrawing from the project.
“For the project to be approved, censorship would be required and neither Pacifico nor I believe the revised project would be representative of contemporary queer issues,” he said on Instagram.
Silano said curator Claire Breukel had resigned in protest to the way the show was handled. On Instagram she shared Silano’s statement, adding: “The mayor’s role is overstated but the exhibition was changed by staff and due process ignored for a very unfortunate outcome.”