February 17, 2018

Library Artwork Shushed by Thief

By LJ Staff

For the second time, an artwork on display at the Boulder Public Library, CO, has been defaced by a disgruntled critic. Two cassette recordings that are part of Mary Golden’s “Kitchen Diplomacy”–which criticizes the White House’s Homeland Security Act–were removed from the piece by an undetermined vandal. The first cassette sported a recording of Golden reading an opinion piece by New York Times columnist William Safire warning against the law’s possible implications for First Amendment rights. After the first cassette was reported missing, a second tape of Golden Reading the Bill of Rights also vanished. Along with the tapes, the piece also included a map of the Middle East covered by a clear chessboard with salt and pepper shakers amid dollar signs, plus other supposedly symbolic kitchen items.

When the act of vandalism was reported to Golden, she told the Daily Camera that her initial reaction was simply to make another. But she then decided that placing a note reading “This tape was stolen by a censor who did not want you to hear it” would be more forceful. In November 2001, an entire artwork of ceramic phalluses was stolen from the library by a self-proclaimed “El Dildo Bandito;” he later returned the work and pleaded no contest to criminal tampering.