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Thoughts on Concern Over Art Exhibits

February 27, 1988

W ritten in response to an article in Calendar on Sunday, Feb. 14, which reported that certain parents and school administrators were upset that students touring the Laguna and Newport Harbor art museums were seeing work the adults considered sexually explicit or thematically provocative.

The people of Laguna Beach find that what they had witlessly supposed to be their last safe haven of goodness and light, the Art Museum, is now being perceived by the Tipper Gores of El Morro School PTA as a threat to the health and positive thinking of the young. Always, a litany of dangers facing the young begins, to my mind, with the pool hall and goes down from way up there.

Clearly, the Laguna Art Museum, in parallel step with the Orange County Department of Education, knows which side of the bread its welfare is buttered on. How else to explain the easy capitulation of some kind of integrity by raising the straw man: "All it takes is one picture and one parent?" The matter of a rating system for exhibitions on the level of movie ratings (PG, R, X) is wrongly assumed to confront the causes of moral and spiritual corruption. Warnings, in the form of placards and orally delivered cautionary whispers, guarantee prurience for adult and child alike.

Heaven forbid that the children of Laguna Beach as well as all the towns in Orange County should find themselves turned loose in the Tate or the Louvre.

ANN TASHJIAN

Laguna Beach

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