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Writers LIVE! Arnold Lehman, Sensation: The Madonna, The Mayor, The Media, and the First Amendment

This FREE event will be presented in-person and virtually, registration required for in-person event. Registration will open by October 13. Registration closes October 26 at 12pm. 

Free registration to attend, or purchase your signed copy of the book from the Ivy Bookshop at registration. Signed books will be distributed upon check-in at the event. There will be no in-person book sales.

Due to social distancing, seating is first come, first serve. No holding seats is allowed. Doors will open at 6pm. No registration is required to watch the event virtually on Facebook Live or YouTube, though encouraged to receive Eventbrite reminders.

Arnold Lehman will be in conversation with Tom Hall about the critical issues raised in his new book, Sensation: The Madonna, The Mayor, The Media, and the First Amendment.

Death and bomb threats over an art exhibition! A major battle with the mayor of New York City and the New York Times! Looking back, Arnold Lehman, director of the Brooklyn Museum, and his colleagues were not prepared for what was to happen. No one could have anticipated that SENSATION: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection would become the biggest art story in the history of art history. The intense controversy swept the exhibition, the museum, and Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary painting to international attention for six months. While 175,000 people saw the exhibition and millions read and heard about it daily, they never knew of the threats and challenges that kept the museum staff awake at night. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who never saw the painting, focused his rage at The Holy Virgin Mary; rescinded the museum’s municipal funding to force it to close the exhibition; and attempted to evict it from its hundred-year-old landmark. The city’s most conservative media and ultra-religious groups inflamed the conflict  about the right to freedom of expression.

Artist Chuck Close’s comment on the book was “Looking back at one of the most important contemporary exhibitions ever, Lehman’s book is filled with the excitement and anxiety of the moment. I know, I was there.”

Arnold Lehman is past Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Director Emeritus of the Brooklyn Museum, and currently Senior Advisor at Phillips, the international auction house for modern and contemporary art.

Tom Hall is the host of WYPR’s Midday, which won the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Regional Award in 2020 for distinguished journalism.

Order your copy of Sensation from the Ivy Bookshop.

ASL interpretation will be available for attendees.

Parking is free on Park Avenue and Cathedral Street after 6pm. Parking is $5 in the Franklin Street Garage after 5pm.

Writers LIVE programs are supported in part by a bequest from The Miss Howard Hubbard Adult Programming Fund.

Dial-In Information

The conversation will also be broadcast on the Enoch Pratt Free Library Facebook page and YouTube page. It can be watched after the broadcast on Facebook Live and YouTube.

Wednesday, October 27 at 7:00pm

Central Library, Wheeler Auditorium
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Event Type

Writers LIVE!, Writing @ the Pratt

Age Group

Adults, Seniors

Compass Category

Writers LIVE at the Library

Event Publisher

Tracy Dimond - for Adults

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