Controversial art screen vandalized

By Maureen Morrissey

Screens partially blocking a controversial student art show in the Holmes Student Center were spray-painted by an unidentified person Friday.

Student center staff discovered at about 3:30 p.m. “DON’T SCREEN ME!” painted across the screens, said Lisa Petersen, University Programming and Activities graduate assistant.

“We have a feeling the perpetrator was a supporter of John Adkins’ work who was offended by the screens,” Petersen said, adding, “but we cannot accuse anyone.”

The paintings were not damaged by the spray paint.

NIU art student Jonathon Adkins’ series of self-protraits, including male nudes, are on display in the center’s public lounge until Feb. 18.

Screens were placed in front the artwork Wednesday after HSC Director Judd Baker received “several complaints” about the artwork.

Baker suggested screening the paintings because, in addition to other complaints, he received calls from parents who went through the center on the orientation tour, said Pat Hewitt, associate vice president of Business and Operations.

“I do not think his painting’s are tasteful or appropriate for a public lounge,” said Colleen Dahlberg, an NIU sophomore visual communications major.

NIU Art Instuctor Lynn McKenzie said the screens were “a good compromise between the artist’s right to speak and the audience’s right not to listen.”

“Neither side is really happy,” but Adkins did not want to run the risk of having the art taken down, Hewitt said. “He needs the show as part of a senior class requirement,” she said.

Adkins was unavailable for comment by press time.