I don't believe in culture ... I believe in encounters. -- Gilles Deleuze

YWC Art reproduction subject to take down request from LSU Attorneys

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A piece of art featured in a 2023 exhibition curated by Yes We Cannibal (YWC) at Good Children gallery in New Orleans has become the subject of a take-down request made by attorneys acting on behalf of Louisiana State University.

The piece is a political poster entitled Free Mike. It features iconography of LSU mascot “Mike the Tiger” alongside iconography redolent of the confederacy, the plantation system, and the historic “Tiger Brigades” with which Mike can be associated.

The piece, made by YWC co-founder and Anthropology PhD candidate Mat Keel in collaboration with musician and scholar Dr. Thomas Stanley (Washington DC) was released as a newsprint poster and postcard reproduction on the YWC website in Fall 2023.

It was also printed on a small-run T-Shirt and rendered in purple and gold. The take-down request referred to this shirt and not to other reproductions. It is presumed that the LSU colors are the trademark referred to in the request.

Attempts to suppress political art are always troubling but given the basic intent of the piece – to call attention to the university’s continuity with its plantation history – this episode is especially concerning and appears much closer to censorship and the use of legal threat enabled by overstuffed coffers against a small art gallery.

Yes We Cannibal has temporarily removed the shirt from its store but maintains that the parodic piece is a very clear instance of critical political speech and that it is incredibly improbable anyone could ever mistake the shirt for an LSU sanctioned piece of merchandise, given that it features not only a confederate flag but also a call to “free” a mascot that the university spends millions of dollars yearly to keep in a secure zoo enclosure.

On March 16th at 4 pm, as part of a salon for the Swamp Alps exhibition by Curtis Schreier – an event also featuring a solo performance by NOLA experimental musician Quintron as Weather Warlock, YWC will hold a public press conference on this matter entitled “Tiger Acknowledgment.”