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Cover, Sensation: The Madonna, the Mayor, the Media, and the First Amendment by Arnold Lehman, 2021

Brooklyn Talks: SENSATION with Arnold Lehman and Darren Walker

Thursday, September 23, 2021

7–9 pm

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor

Join Arnold Lehman, former director of the Brooklyn Museum, and Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, for a timely conversation about Lehman’s long-awaited book Sensation: The Madonna, the Mayor, the Media, and the First Amendment (2021). The book presents Lehman’s personal account of the controversy, which took place during his time as director and surrounded the lightning-rod exhibition SENSATION: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection (1999–2000). It details the Museum’s bitter fight with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and others. Artist Chuck Close said of the book, “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.”

Two decades later, in a time of reckoning for institutions and as controversies increasingly shape the art and museum fields, the SENSATION exhibition takes on new resonance. Walker and Lehman ask how this critical case study in First Amendment rights changed how we think about the issues of freedom of speech and artistic expression that continue to be debated today.

Tickets are $16 and include after-hours admission to The Slipstream: Reflection, Resilience, and Resistance in the Art of Our Time. Member tickets are free. Not a Member? Join today! You can also watch this event live on YouTube.

All visitors 12 and older must show proof of vaccination and a valid I.D. Masks are required regardless of vaccination status.

This program is presented in collaboration with PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection.

This program will include ASL interpretation. For access needs, please email us at access@brooklynmuseum.org