Dorothy Iannone

© Dorothy Iannone. Image: Air de Paris, Romainville
People, 1966-1967
E. Righi Collection
Sculpture , 36 x 21 x 1,2 cm (each)

“When I first came to Germany in 1967, Hansjörg Meyer gave me an exhibition at his gallery in Stuttgart. In those days I had been making small wooden cutout figures of everyone I could think of, from all the world, from all times and places and ways of life. It has always been my pleasure to include in my innocent (aren't they innocent)  depictions of people the genitals – a pleasure for which I have had, amazingly but willingly, to pay dearly. The first day after the opening, the police came and confiscated the entire exhibition which, in addition to the cutout figures, also included highly detailed oil paintings in which one would have had to search indeed for an erotic element. The police then quietly invited several professors and critics of art to determine whether or not the work was pornographic. I learned later that all of the art judges, without exception, had declared that my work was not pornographic and that it belonged to an ancient tradition of art. And so, on the last day of the exhibition, the show was returned to Hansjörg Meyer and he, energetically and touchingly, put everything back on the walls for one more afternoon in Stuttgart. He told me later that some of the judiciary officials were among the visitors in the gallery that last day. Had the work been found pornographic, it would have been put into underground vaults for one hundred years, after which period it would have been returned to me.”

Dorothy Iannone, from Dorothy Iannone: Censorship And The Irrepressible Drive Toward Love and Divinity, 2014