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in or Subscribe See Offers. The paintings are by Bruce Habowski of Waterville, who was convicted of unlawful sexual contact in and served six months in jail. Moore, said they were removed when a relative of a victim in the sex crime called the university to complain. The complaint was not about the content of the art, but about the artist. After careful review, USM decided to remove his works from the exhibit. Reached by phone, he also declined an interview, saying only that he was disappointed the exhibition is drawing negative attention because of his paintings.

A criminal background check for Habowski, 51, shows that Oakland police arrested him in April on a felony unlawful sexual contact charge. He was found guilty in Waterville District Court in Juneand sentenced to four years in jail with all but six months suspended. He also has two sex-related misdemeanor convictions from around the same time, including one involving a juvenile. Moore, who lives in Freeport, is livid about the art being removed. You are contributing to society in a positive way. It opened March 12 and the three paintings were removed about three weeks later.

The Atrium Gallery is part of a central entryway and commons area on the small campus that provides graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates. The school is tucked away on the southwestern edge of Lewiston, near the Maine Turnpike. The gallery is currently managed by an ad hoc committee under the supervision of an acting dean. The removal of the art raises questions about free expression, community standards and tolerance, the public display of art and censorship, and comes during a national discussion about the value of art versus the character of its creator.

That discussion has been framed by the MeToo movement and revelations of bad behavior by prominent filmmakers, painters, maestros and musicians. This week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled convicted sex offenders Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski from its membership, citing a violation of ethical standards. Timothy Rhys, editor-in-chief of California-based MovieMaker magazine and a part-time Maine resident, said the issue is layered and complex.

Ultimately, he said, we as a society should judge artists based on the work they create and not how they conduct their lives. This person paid his debt. We really need to come to grips that we are not going to all have the same opinion of the person. What happens when someone who behaves badly also created something worthwhile? Do we negate all of that? Do we erase it? Do we lose an opportunity to learn and evolve? He circulated a draft of the letter to union members earlier last week, seeking feedback and endorsements.

He declined to share a copy with the Press Herald.

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The university charter clearly states that the university is the place that encourages open and free expression. At the same time, Ripton said, the Union of Maine Visual Artists decries the sexual victimization of anyone, female and male. Janice and I are both aware that the delicate complexities of this issue are interconnected and anything short of addressing those wide-ranging relationships may actually do more harm to victims of sex crimes than might be appreciated without deeper consideration.

Moore said she heard rumblings of objections within two weeks after the show opened. She said she chose the work based on the quality of the art, not the background of the artist. When she drove to the exhibition April 6, she found the voids on the wall where the paintings hung. Some people suggested she rehang the show to cover those voids, but she decided to leave them with a note calling attention to their removal.

This censorship without explanation does not feel right and does a disservice to everyone involved. The issue has caused anger and anguish, she said, and is nuanced by many shades of gray. Please wait for the to reload. If the does not reload within 5 seconds, please refresh the. This profile is in addition to your subscription and website. Already have one? Create a commenting profile by providing an address, password and display name. You will receive an to complete the registration. Please note the display name will appear on screen when you participate.

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Subscribe now. Subscribe. By Bob Keyes Staff Writer. The show's curator, Janice L. Moore, decided against rehanging the show, suggesting it would amount to a "whitewash. Related Read a review of the show. and password to access comments. address Password Forgot Password?

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