Poster courtesy of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.
Photo: Michael Katchen

Too Shocking To Show (1992)

In collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum, Franklin Furnace presented Too Shocking To Show (1992) as the culture wars erupted in the United States. This event was prompted by the growing institutional censorship of sexually explicit art that was sweeping across the nation. Due to the political climate, Franklin Furnace’s Visual Artists Organization grant was rescinded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The organization held Too Shocking To Show to generate dialogue surrounding the freedom of expression and to continue their mission of “Making the world safe for avant-garde art.” Through various forms of protest on stage, the New York City art community addressed the systemic effects of censorship by the NEA. The artists featured in this event transgressed the NEA’s restrictive policies by presenting live performances that examined sex as a legitimate subject of contemporary art. Too Shocking To Show included presentations by Robert T. Buck, Martha Wilson, Carol S. Vance, Sapphire, Holly Hughes, Scarlet O, and Tim Miller.