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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Mercedes Responds to Censorship of Artist’s Car-Themed Work at L.A. MOCA Event

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At the beginning of the month, new media artist Chris Silva charged that his work featuring a Peugeot race-car had been censored during the Mercedes-Benz-sponsored “Transmission LA” exhibition curated by the Beastie BoysMike D at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art for fear that it would undermine the show’s corporate sponsor. Now Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has issued a statement explaining the event.

An email to ARTINFO from a representative of MBUSA addressed the events at the MOCA show thusly:

The Transmission LA: AV Club exhibit was very successful and over 30,000 people attended over the 17 day period.  After reading your story, we “MBUSA” looked into the matter.  The facts are a third party agency working on the event  did not have the authority to ask Mr. Silva to remove his art and this person never actually spoke to MBUSA on-site regarding the matter — they in fact expressed a POV that was not true or ever said by someone from Mercedes-Benz USA.

The actions of this individual was wrong and counter to  Transmission LA: AV Club theme, which was a great expression of creative collaboration of artists and MOCA.

Mr. Silva was in touch with Jeffrey Deitch concerning the matter and the above was explained to Mr. Silva via email a few weeks ago with an apology.

We wonder whether an artist presenting Renault-themed art at a Volkswagen-sponsored MoMA exhibition would receive such a thorough response and apology.

— Benjamin Sutton

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