Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Mapplethorpe, beware! There’s a new subversive in town


And he’s a young photography student at Brigham Young University. His photographs depict–gasp!–people who identify themselves as homosexual. And accompanying each portrait is a kind of alter image: the face of a family member or friend who is supportive of the gay student.

Seems like a simple, lyrical concept that embraces gays and lesbians, and also shows their allies–loved ones, friends, and family–accept them, no matter their sexuality.

BYU is not alone in its university-sanctioned censorship (it’s just in the public eye because of its anti-gay support of Prop 8. As institutions dedicated to open dialogue and understanding, colleges and universities must be the last places of close-mindedness–opting instead to be leaders of tolerance.

Greg Lukianoff writes about the increasing intolerance of art, opinion, and literature in The Huffington Post:

Sounds crazy, but sadly it’s true. Students at the University of Oklahoma have been warned not to use their university e-mail accounts for “the forwarding of political humor/commentary” during this election season.

Meanwhile, anyone who has an actual opinion on the election should think twice about expressing it on a bumper sticker at the University of Illinois, or in their dorm window at University of Texas at Austin. In fact, students who hung an Obama sign in their window at UT Austin were threatened with expulsion.

Here’s the artwork of the BYU artist, sans censorship:


Pretty darn subversive work, huh? My hunch is Mapplethorpe would just shrug his shoulders at the controversy and move on.


Filed under: art, gay rights, social justice, , , , ,

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More


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