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SENSATION: The Madonna, The Mayor, The Media and The First Amendment by Arnold Lehman - IN PERSON EVENT

09/28/2021 - 6:00pm


Please join us for an in-person event with Arnold Lehman, in conversation with Maxwell Anderson, presenting "SENSATION: The Madonna, the Mayor, the Media, and the First Amendment"


In-person events will be presented to a fully vaccinated audience at full capacity. All attendees are required to wear masks. All patrons over the age of sixteen will be required to show proof* of having completed the COVID-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to the date of the event. 

*Proof of vaccination will be defined as either an original vaccination card or an Excelsior Pass. 

 Registration will be required. 



About the book: 

Death and bomb threats over an art exhibition! A major battle with the mayor of New York City and the New York Times! In retrospect, Arnold Lehman, the Director of the Brooklyn Museum, and his colleagues had not been prepared for the huge controversy surrounding the staging in 1999–2000 of SENSATION: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection. The show, which drew on the contemporary art collection of Charles Saatchi and featured the provocative work of such artists as Damien Hirst, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Marc Quinn, swept the museum to international attention for six months. It has taken Lehman two decades to fully absorb and reflect on events, and this book – illustrated with some of the best-known artworks from SENSATION, as well as archival imagery – is his very personal account of what happened. While 175,000 people saw the exhibition and millions read and heard about it daily, they never knew of the threats and challenges that kept the museum staff awake at night. Mayor Rudy Giuliani expressed outrage at Chris Ofili’s painting The Holy Virgin Mary (1996), a black Madonna with a breast composed of elephant dung, set against a background featuring images cut out from pornographic magazines. When Giuliani rescinded the museum’s municipal funding and attempted to evict it from its city-owned building, the museum sued the city and the mayor for violating its First Amendment rights. The city’s most conservative media and ultra-religious groups inflamed the conflict. The situation for Lehman become even more difficult when the New York Times accused the museum of wrongdoing in high-profile but often inaccurate investigative reports. In a tale as gripping as a fictional thriller, SENSATION is the inside story of one the biggest controversies in art history.

The inside story of the bitter battle between the Brooklyn Museum and the mayor and city of New York and the New York Times


Features works by such artists as Jake and Dinos Chapman, Damien Hirst, Ron Mueck, Chris Ofili, Marc Quinn and Jenny Saville


A fascinating and revealing read for anyone interested in contemporary art
About the Author:
Arnold Lehman is Director Emeritus of the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Senior Advisor at Phillips auction house.
Max Anderson earned an A.B. with highest distinction in art history at Dartmouth College (1977), and A.M. (1978) and Ph.D. (1981) degrees from the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Former president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, he served for seven years as a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1981-87), followed by almost thirty years as the director of five art museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Max has served since 2016 as President of Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership, which is dedicated to promoting the work of Black artists from the South, and supporting their communities by fostering economic empowerment, racial and social justice, and educational advancement
He is the author of dozens of articles and books, and was knighted by both the Italian and French Republics.

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