This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Contemporary Arts Center's Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition, The Perfect Moment
, that resulted in obscenity charges against the CAC and its director, Dennis Barrie, and ultimately their exoneration by a Hamilton County jury. Smithsonian Magazine
does a good job recapping the 1990 events and trying to explain how Cincinnati — the arts community and the city in general — has evolved since then.
Writer Alex Palmer interviews Barrie and his lead defense attorney, Lou Sirkin, to provide memories of the 1990 events as well as current CAC Director Raphaela Platow and Curator Steven Matijcio for "what does it mean today" context.
"The case has left a positive legacy for the CAC, and for Barrie, who went on to help defend offensive song lyrics at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum," Palmer writes. "'People see the CAC as a champion of the arts,' says Matijcio. 'We're still always trying to be challenging and topical, to draw on work that's relevant and of the moment.'"
The CAC commemorates the 25th anniversary with a series of programs and exhibitions, starting with a "Mapplethorpe + 25" symposium
Read the full Smithsonian Magazine