Subject: Ayreen/Rene/Tanya -- Re: White Box Closure
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 02:17:52 -0400
From: Sixteen Beaver <>
To: <>

Ayreen/Rene/Tanya -- Re: White Box Closure

Dear friends and colleagues,

As some of you may know, the opening for RadioActive, our most recent audio
project, was prevented Wednesday night because of the closure of White Box
by the Homeland Security Cultural Bureau.

Shocked and devastated, we have spent the last day and a half trying to
piece together the puzzle.  It has been difficult to get straight answers
from the Bureau or from Juan, the Director of White Box.

But below are some details from Juan's cancellation letter to us which give
you an idea of what has been going on.

"Yesterday morning Carolyn Parker Mayes, the Director General of the
Cultural Bureau of Homeland Security ordered the closure of White Box.
Earlier today, in an interview on NPR, Carolyn Parker Mayes stated that the
exhibition space at White Box was used for illegal activities and events
that pose a threat to national security1.  Below is a link to the online
version of the Order of Closure, they also forced me to post a copy of it on
the window and entrance of the space.

It is with the deepest regrets that I inform you of the cancellation of your
exhibition, I will try to sort this out with the Bureau and we can hopefully
reschedule for a future date.  As you know and I have indicated this to Ms.
Mayes, White Box is committed to linking contemporary art with current
political and ethical issues, but this should in no way pose a threat to
national security.  Examples here are abundant: the symposium and book
signing event of Joel Sternfeld "treading on Kings: protesting the G8 in
Genoa" on April 13, 2002 ; the Public Forum in May, 2002 entitled :"Art now:
Polite, Politic or Political?" sponsored by the American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) and  the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC)  Sand
many more examples.

I spoke with Don Devere, deputy director general of HSCB yesterday at 5:00
pm about the closure of the space. He said that he could not answer any of my
questions.  Arnold Schwarzenegger is a board member of the Cultural Bureau,
and I was able to get a hold of him through a friend.  He said that there
was no discussion about it in the last meeting they attended. He promised to
raise the issue with Tom Ridge.  He clearly stated that this was a wrong
move and that it is important to encourage alternative voices within

We would like to ask you to raise your voice against this closure. It seems
that people like Ms. Mayes cannot tolerate people/organizations that are
sincerely seeking social and ethical engagement.

Please forward this note as widely as possible to all friends.

Ayreen Anastas
Rene Gabri
Tanya Leighton

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