I Like Having a Detachable Penis*

Really I don’t know how I didn’t think of this song earlier. So yesterday was the first day for teachers to be back at school, which basically means a 6-hour-long staff meeting. About halfway through the first long stretch, I get the email from SAQA telling me that AQS has pulled I Was Not Wearing a Life Jacket (or for that matter, not showing a penis) from the last of the two shows it was supposed to be in, Chattanooga and Des Moines. Understand that I’m already tired and stressed from starting school, and I vacillate between angry as hell, really frustrated with reactions to my art, and incredibly depressed about the possibility of even more restrictions on my work. There are venues where I can’t show my work even now, and there’s even issues with the art world accepting quilts as art. “It’s fabric? Then it’s a CRAFT.” Huh. Last I looked, canvas is fabric. But whatever. These are not new issues. This has all happened before, multiple times. There are magazines that won’t show my work as well, which is annoying. And no, I’m not the only one. By far.

But dammit, I want that all to change.

So I was upset. Still am. But not so upset to stop working on the next quilt. In fact, I’m powering through it because of upcoming deadlines. I honestly appreciate all the positive and uplifting comments I get from y’all. One comment yesterday I had to read aloud to the other teachers at lunch because it almost made me cry. Granted, I’m a hormonal menopausal mess, so stupid shit makes me cry. It helps…because then I feel less alone, less like I’m standing at the end of a hallway with all my work piled up around me as the door gets slammed in my face. No! You will NOT show your work!

Life Jacket was drawn around the time of the Gulf oil spill…

Kathy Nida016 copy

That guy. Yelling at her.

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“You’re doing it wrong!”

Not a penis.

Kathy Nida015 copy

Sigh. The second part of the email is where SAQA let me know that they asked AQS to commit to not pulling my other piece, Fully Medicated (which has had no complaints lodged against it), for the rest of the circuit. AQS is thinking about that. They Have to THINK About It. I’m really unhappy about that. They accepted the special SAQA exhibit as part of their show. They should stand behind it. Or not accept it in the first place.

Either you show art, or you admit you can’t handle it.

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I’m still waiting to hear back on that level of crazy.

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It’s funny, because years ago, when I was first starting out, I preferred the AQS magazine over Quilters Newsletter Magazine, because they had more arty articles about quilt techniques. QNM seemed to be mostly traditional stuff. But QNM has backed me for years; they have posted pictures of my work, and then backed it up in the Letters section when people freaked out about those pictures. I stopped being a member of AQS years ago, when I grew out of it, but I kept my QNM subscription all this time.

I just want AQS to feel some pressure from the quilt world. I don’t want people to not go to the shows, because that hurts the other artists as well. I want them to go and then complain to the organizers. Or email AQS and let them know they don’t support censorship. I still want them to go and see the shows and buy from the vendors, and maybe, just maybe, go check out the SAQA exhibits and see what tickles their fancy.

They pulled the quilt because one person complained about something that wasn’t there. I want to be more than one person complaining about their actions.

No, AQS has not contacted me. I doubt they will. And I may be blacklisted from their shows from here on out. Someone brought up the fact that the quilt that was at the Mancuso show where a woman not only complained, but called Fox News, who showed up and called me a pornographer…the Mancusos left the work hanging. And left it in the traveling exhibit for the remainder of the shows. I’m sure I caused them some stress, but I probably also got them some tickets sold. And there were no issues at any of the other shows

So yesterday, after being at school all day, tired and stressed, affected by all this shit, I sat down and cut out the rest of the Wonder Under for the new quilt…

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About 9 1/2 hours total. Tonight, I’ll sort them and maybe get my office cleaned up enough to start picking fabrics. I have a really tight schedule on this one…

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I also prepped a science lab for later this month…black boxes. Each box has a piece of cardboard and a marble, and they get taped shut. There are four versions, with different shapes of cardboard and/or locations. The cats did not help.

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What science teachers do at home to get ready for the school year.

Simba is being a sweetheart, sitting on the boychild…who is leaving in two days.

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I miss the girlchild already. OK. Gotta go to work and get my classroom ready for the 150 or so 7th graders who will show up Thursday. Then come home and make art that makes people freak out. Or love it. Or even just go “Huh.” And walk on by.

*King Missile, Detachable Penis

9 thoughts on “I Like Having a Detachable Penis*

  1. I’m still fuming about this, I can only imagine how much you’re bouncing from rage to depression to a sense of futility to sadness to whatever. Gutless smallminded jerks.


  2. SAQA should have pulled the entire collection on principle and stood up for you. One artist’s work is pulled – the whole show is pulled. But they didn’t. They are supposed to be advocates for art quilters. And by pulling the entire collection on the grounds of, well, insanity on AQS’s reaction to one erroneous complaint they would be making a huge statement for A R T quilts. SAQA handled this ridiculousness in a totally unprofessional and spineless fashion. Are they truly the advocates for ART quilts they claim to be? I think their response says otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Wendeanne. I’m not only upset with AQS but I also find the fact that SAQA did not stand up to the decision to pull your piece. It makes me question my own SAQA membership.


  4. The path you have chosen as an artist to create what this current society deems “controversial” must be difficult and I stand and applaud your fortitude and tenacity.

    I am certain there must be other art that both SAQA and AQS have received comments and complaints about (particularly in the bible belt areas I would imagine) and I’m astonished they don’t have a protocol to handle such things. It’s as if this is the first time this has happened else why would they have handled it so badly?

    I enjoy looking at your work. I admire your use of serpent imagery (something I have shied away from owing to the horrified looks on the faces of my art group (and we are progressive!) How quickly art becomes something else when viewed through other perspectives. But as artists, it is not our concern to cater to the lowest common denominator but to challenge, excite and inspire others to see things in a different way.

    Since when do we start putting ‘Trigger warning’ signs up. And BTW- THAT would make an awesome exhibition wouldn’t it?

    Keep on keepin on. High fives to you!


  5. I went to the AQS show in Daytona just to see this exhibit. I stood before Kathy’s quilts the longest. The artistic vision, the details! The quilts were so full, so expressive! I found nothing offensive. I found art!( Apparently no one else objected while the pieces were on tour at multiple shows until this one individual opened her mouth.)
    SAQA needs to establish a policy for how to handle this situation. They also need to reexamine where they will exhibit their shows. Perhaps “quilt shows” are not the best venue!
    I know how angry and frustrated This must make you.


  6. I an so upset about the censorship of your quilt. My husband who isn’t a quilting enthusiast is so upset that they see something that is not there. He viewed your quilt via photo and neither of us saw any phallic appearing objects. We are both furious that one person’s opinion should shutdown the viewing if such an important piece of work…

    Liked by 4 people

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