NEW YORK—In response to the Guggenheim’s decision to remove works from an upcoming exhibition, citing threats of violence, PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel released the following statement: 

“While vigorous debate over the works planned for exhibition at the Guggenheim is legitimate and people are free to voice impassioned views, that threats of violence became grounds for the cancellation of the works represents a major blow to artistic freedom. Even artistic expression that deeply offends is not a justification for threatened or actual violence. The outcome in this case sets a worrying precedent that controversial voices and outlier perspectives can be forced into silence through mass outcry, public pressure and threats. Those who celebrate the removal of these works should consider what gets removed next, and at whose behest.”

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world.  Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT
Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator: agasparian@pen.org, +1.646.981.0685