(Jones 1990) Stars and bras

Jones, Anthony. Stars and bras: a report from the trenches. Academe. 1990 Jul–Aug; 76(4):18–23.

Jones recounts his experiences, as president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with three cases where students’ freedom of expression had to be weighed against the consequences of defying outraged public opinion. The first case involved a depiction of the late Mayor Harold Washington dressed in women’s lingerie; the second, artwork that included the Stars and Stripes flag of the USA laid out on the floor where it might be walked upon; and the third, a request to redisplay the flag artwork from the second case at a later exhibition. Jones upheld and successfully defended the students’ freedom of expression in the first and second cases, although at considerable expense to the School. But Jones denied the student’s request in the third case, on grounds that he summarizes under the slogan “Enough Already”; since the flag artwork had already been exhibited and was a known quantity, Jones believed that it could no longer justify the risk, expense, and distraction of attention from other exhibits that its presentation would entail.


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