Santa Monica College art history major Roger Morante is "deeply concerned," "heated" and "outraged" upon being told by security guards at Los Angeles County Museum of Art that he must cease and desist from sketching on his notepad at LACMA's "Sargent and Italy" exhibition, which closes today (the deeply concerned, heated, and outraged Morante also holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from USC). Morante wrote in a fax to The Times that being prohibited from fashioning his own pen-and-paper rendition of John Singer Sargent's paintings challenges "his personal liberties as an artist living in the United States of America."
As it happens, Morante may not need to revoke his citizenship just yet. LACMA not only allows, but encourages "graphite only" (that means "pencil") sketching in its permanent galleries, and will even lend you a stool to sit on while you do it (easels are not allowed). But for an exhibition such as the Sargent, which contains many works loaned from private and public collections worldwide, the lenders may require the museum to take special precautions -- and in this case the rule is "no sketching" (that Morante flouted LACMA rules by pulling out a pen instead of a pencil did not play into his being told to quit drawing).