|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Saturday, April 17, 2021
|National Archives apologizes for altering image of 2017 Women's March|
A statement is posted on the back of a turned-around photo that had been on display at the National Archives in Washington, Jan. 18, 2020. The National Archives and Records Administration, which calls itself the countrys record keeper, apologized on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, for altering a photo of protesters at the 2017 Womens March that blurred out references critical of President Donald Trump. Leigh Vogel/The New York Times.
by Maria Cramer
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE ).- The National Archives and Records Administration, which calls itself the countrys record keeper, apologized Saturday for altering a photo of protesters at the 2017 Womens March that blurred out references critical of President Donald Trump.
We made a mistake, began a statement the archives released Saturday.
The photo of protesters holding signs was part of an exhibit, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, which examined the struggle of women to gain the right to vote.
But signs critical of the president that appeared in the photo including one that said God Hates Trump were doctored to blur out Trumps name, according to The Washington Post, which first reported on the alterations.
Initially, in a statement to The Post, an archives spokeswoman defended the decision and said modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records.
As a nonpartisan, nonpolitical federal agency, we blurred references to the presidents name on some posters, so as not to engage in current political controversy, the spokeswoman, Miriam Kleiman, said.
But by Saturday afternoon, three museum officials were seen turning around the photo display, which was a lenticular image that from one perspective showed the 2017 Womens March and from a different perspective shimmered to a 1913 photo of a womens demonstration on Pennsylvania Avenue.
The display was positioned so that only a blank canvas could be seen. Officials then posted a statement to the public that also apologized for the alterations.
In a promotional display in this spot, we obscured some words on protest signs in a photo of the 2017 Womens March, the statement said. This photo is not an archival record held by the National Archives but one we licensed to use as a promotional graphic. Nonetheless, we were wrong to alter the image.
The statement said the display would be replaced as soon as possible with one that uses the unaltered image. It also said that a review would begin immediately into what happened.
As the National Archives of the United States, we are and have always been completely committed to preserving our archival holdings, without alteration, the statement said.
The controversy unfolded as tens of thousands of women gathered in Washington and other cities Saturday for the fourth Womens March.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters, galvanized by the 2016 election of Trump, came to Washington in January 2017.
They also marched in cities across the country, holding signs about issues as diverse as abortion, sexual assault, equal pay, voter suppression and environmental protection.
One of the photos of the Washington march, taken by Mario Tama, a photographer for Getty Images, showed a sea of protesters holding signs criticizing Trump, The Post reported. Representatives from Getty could not be immediately reached Saturday.
The National Archives, which featured the photo in its exhibit, blurred Trumps name on a sign that originally read God Hates Trump. Another sign Trump & GOP Hands Off Women also has the word Trump blurred out, The Post reported.
A sign with the word vagina was also blurred and the word pussy was erased from another sign. The references to the female anatomy were a rebuke of Trumps comments about women in a 2005 recording that captured him boasting how he used his celebrity status to force himself on women, even groping their private parts.
Those words were altered because the museum has many young visitors and there was concern they might be inappropriate, Kleiman told The Post.
Rinku Sen, a president of the board of directors for the Womens March, on Saturday called the alterations a symbol of the degradation of democracy.
The National Archives are our public historians and historians are not meant to change history but to report it, she said. To me, it says that censoring women is a thing that people think they can do.
The decision was criticized by historians and archivists who said changing the photo was a violation of public trust.
Museums, archives, and stewards of our historic artifacts should absolutely never change or alter visual or written content in primary sources, said Rhae Lynn Barnes, a professor of American Cultural History at Princeton University. That is something totalitarian governments do.
She added: American history is hopeful and uplifting and triumphant, but its also dark and disturbing. Our job is to hold both of those truths and tensions together and properly contextualize the past so current and future generations can make up their own minds about the significance of what happened and empower themselves.
Archivists follow a strict code of ethics that forbids them from altering any images put into the public record, said Kathleen Roe, who was an archivist for 40 years at the New York state Archives, where she served as director of archives and records management.
The National Archives decision to display an altered photo is really disappointing and could undermine the faith of the public in archivists in general, she said.
We are charged with providing access to the record as it exists not to the record as we wish it would exist or how it should be made to look for certain situations, Roe said. If there is any place that you should be able to go to for the record as it was recorded it is in government archives.
The Rightfully Hers exhibit examines the relentless struggle of diverse activists throughout U.S. history to secure voting rights for all American women, the archives said in its description of the exhibit.
The exhibit features more than 90 records, artifacts, photographs and other items meant to capture the advances of women as they struggled for decades to secure the right to vote. The exhibit opened in May and is scheduled to run through January 2021.
A Post reporter, Joe Heim, noticed the photo during a chance visit to the museum, he said on Twitter.
Sen said altering the images are likely to infuriate women and encourage them to continue protesting the Trump administration.
Were here to represent ourselves directly and exercise democracy directly, and were not going to be shut down, she said.
© 2020 The New York Times Company
January 19, 2020
Still lifes by Pissarro, Cézanne, Manet & friends on view at the Toledo Museum of Art
National Archives apologizes for altering image of 2017 Women's March
Forum Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Andrew Wyeth
Benin welcomes back 28 antique royal artefacts
Unique 300 year old scientific drawings at risk of leaving the UK
Louvre reopens after being blocked by strikers
Masterworks from the collections of Marylou Whitney and J.E. Safra lead Sotheby's auction
Frida Kahlo could barely walk. In this ballet, she dances
New-York Historical Society offers new perspectives on commemorative traditions in two winter exhibitions
Exhibition surveys more than 30 years of Salvo's artistic practice
Newcomb Art Museum opens solo exhibition of work by Brandan "Bmike" Odums
Exhibition of new sculptures by Erwin Wurm opens at Lehmann Maupin
She's your guide to the sound world of Fluxus
Claire Oliver Gallery opens new space in Harlem
Peter Larkin, stage designer with a funky asterisk, dies at 93
Art blooms in gritty Dakar neighbourhood
Carnegie Museum of Art appoints four new department heads
Ketterer Kunst appoints new Head of Contemporary Art
Kunsthalle Basel opens an exhibition of works by Camille Blatrix
Exhibition of recent mixed-media works by Liberia-born artist Trokon Nagbe opens at Skoto Gallery
Prinseps to host auction with first edition rare books from the Indian Nationalist Movement
Norma Tanega, who sang about a cat named Dog, dies at 80
Galerie Guido W. Baudach exhibits works which make use of the color black
Exhibition seeks to examine the real-world impact of computer vision
Pax Romana brings ancient times to life with Feb. 1 auction of antiquities, jewellery, coins & weapons
5 Ways To Use Flowers Around The Home
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.