Ai Weiwei

In 2017, an angry public demanded the removal of controversial art works. Could the debate limit artistic freedom?

In 2017, an angry public demanded the removal of controversial art works. Could the debate limit artistic freedom?

The protesters arrived two by two, wearing black suits and face masks that bore the face of the museum’s curator of 20th century art.

It was the summer of 1981 and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was celebrating a trio of exhibitions marking the city’s bicentennial with a Champagne reception interrupted by more than 100 protesters carrying gray and pink balloons that read: “Where are the Women and Minorities?”

Standing out from the black-clad protesters in masks bearing the visage of LACMA curator Maurice Tuchman, were six women in pink cowgirl outfits. They unfurled a banner that read “The Los Angeles County Museum of White Male Art.” One of the bicentennial shows,...

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