Don't Delete Art
An Online Exhibition of Censored Art
On May 19, 2020, an international coalition of arts and free expression organizations, including the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), IBEX Collection, Article19, International Arts Rights Advisors, and Freemuse, launched Don’t Delete Art, a virtual gallery showcasing work which is banned or restricted on social media. The gallery, whose curators include frequently-censored artists Spencer Tunick and Savannah Spirit, was created in response to artists’ increased reliance on social media platforms as the coronavirus pandemic forced global closings of physical art spaces. With social media as the world’s primary art space, artists are more vulnerable than ever to the chaotic and often arbitrary content regulation guidelines platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube, use to remove and restrict art vaguely defined as “objectionable.” The gallery is part of a campaign calling on social media companies to adopt a clear set of notice and appeals principles guiding the regulation of art online and allowing art to circulate freely in the online environment.
Don't Delete Art showcases some of the exemplary work whose circulation is currently arrested by social media platforms – whether due to faulty algorithms and a lacking appeals process or due to ill-considered community guidelines. This is a curated gallery, which can only showcase a limited number of representative works. However, all artists have the opportunity to share their censorship stories on Censorpedia, NCAC’s wiki of censorship incidents.