Administrators at the University of California, Merced have banned a student, Irene Tang, from exhibiting her piece at the school’s Bobcat Family Art Show. The school called the pictures of Merced Chancellor Steve Kang displayed in Tang’s work “distasteful and disrespectful.” Tang “explains” her piece in the affiliated multimedia component here:

Tang says, “my piece is a reflection of the torn feelings students face when discovering themselves. It outlines the ability to love two different campus idols: Steve Kang, our chancellor, and Lady Gaga, a pop idol.”


While there are somewhat unfortunate implications for artistic censorship displayed by the Merced decision, it’s somewhat hard to argue that the world is being deprived of a major contribution to artistic discourse with the removal of this piece.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer