Censorship of the arts keeps raising its capricious head. Not surprisingly, it pops up routinely in closed societies like Russia, where Putin is known to punish dissidents. So it wasn’t all that remarkable that an artwork by photographer Jock Sturges, noted for picturing nude young women, got banned at a show in Moscow last year. The work, titled “Absence of Shame” depicts naked girls. Officials declared it “propaganda of pedophilia.” One wonders what those same arbiters of taste think of “Lolita,” the novel about an aging male’s lecherous fixation on a girl by native son Vladimir Nabokov. Granted, he emigrated to the U.S., but he famously said, “My head speaks English, my heart speaks Russian.”

Is this a free country or not?

While you expect censorship in dictatorships, you don’t in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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Yet the result of the U.S. presidential election has spurred suppression of an anti-Trump exhibit at the Red Dot Fair in Miami. The work, by the T. Rutt #Art Collective, shows an American flag with his sexist remarks stitched on the white stripes, like “Grab ‘em by the p****,” taken from the "Access Hollywood" tape. Artists in the T. Rutt Art Collective, David Gleeson and Mary Mihelic, expressed surprise at their expulsion because at first their work was accepted for exhibition. They also had been showing their flag countrywide without incident. But the day after Hillary lost, they got an email from Edwood Media, owner of the Red Dot Art Fair telling them that given the outcome of the election, their anti-Trump display with the "p word, among other no-no’s uttered by Trump on the "Access Hollywood" tape, was too offensive.

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As part of the explanation for the rejection, the email also said that Trump’s remarks were old news. This suggests that any reference to words or actions before Nov. 9, 2016 shouldn’t be counted. Can this be the start of venues fearing reprisals from Trump?

Who’s afraid of Donald Trump?

So far, the Red Dot Art Fair is the only exhibit space so far skittish about anti-Trump sentiment. Other art fairs – namely Art Expo New York, Art San Diego, Art Santa Fe, and Spectrum Indian Wells – have put out statements that promise commitment to promoting “diverse and progressive ideas.” In a reported statement of solidarity, the Volta art fair in New York also put its commitment in writing, saying, that it will continue to show art from the margins, including varying philosophies. Along those lines, New York’s legendary Armory Show has said that its plans for 2017 will take in a show called “What is To Be Done?” What you’ll be able to see will be some dozen artists from 10 different lands pondering “the idea of social and political awareness during a time of uncertainty.” But we’ll have to wait and see how many other exhibit spaces will be open to showing art protesting Trump’s ways and means. #Donald Trump