Bacchanal 1964-67 62 7/8" x 164"w dipytch above/ below The Studio 1965 120 1/2" x 79 1/2 "w CollectionThe Whitney Museum of American Art
Self-Portrait Painting 31" x 20"w
Sagg Main Beach, 1973-75 81 7/8" x 218 3/8"w
Fantasy About Freedom I 1973-76 92 3/4" x 105 7/8"w
The Mugging of the Muse 1971-74, 80" x 103"w Private Collection
The Mugging of the Muse was the First Libel Lawsuit against a painting in history. In 1980, Paul Georges lost.
Brilliant Attorneys Victor Kovner and Harriette Dorsen Won the Appeal on The First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech.
Silberman and Siani vs. Paul Georges 1975-1982 is a Lawsuit positioning Court approved Censorship against the Right to Freedom of Speech (here in Art and Painting). The case was unprecedented, written about in global publications and is still taught at Stanford, Yale and other law schools. The suers hoped to steal PG's loft. Jane Freilicher's husband Joe Hazan offered cash if needed. Somehow, it wasn't. Grace Glueck wrote on the case in The NY Times. Articles on the painting & the Libel Lawsuit are many, yet 40 years after the Court Ruling the case is little known today among art world experts or Freedom of Speech Art history specialists.
Siani began as a student who followed PG from Colorado, he got as far as Hoboken. In 1969, after whining & pleading PG reluctantly agreed Siani's wife Hatsy (Porter's Union member) could buy the 2nd Floor at 85 Walker. PG founded the building as a co-op to protect his family when rent on Broadway + Bleecker skyrocketed from $28 in 1960 to $150 a month in '68. Once Siani had a loft, he & the hallway reeked of pot all day. He infuriated PG voting for Nixon & cheering for the Vietnam War. PG determined to express his feelings of outrage using his brush. High on dope, Siani leered at young girls until his eyes & mouth twitched uncontrollably, exposing his lust. In 1974, a slide of PG's painting was projected at a weekly artists meeting: Siani slowly began wailing. For 8 years he seethed, he threatened, he tried to force PG to change the nose. He sued. Siani's Socialist club sent Projansky a free lawyer; together they concocted the infamous first Libel lawsuit in history against a painting. Ostracized after losing, the rotten Sociailist censors of ART: Siani, Silberman & Bradford from then on made religious themed art. Silberman resided at his mother's in Coney Island or Creedmoor, a mental asylum. Bradford an obesity and far cry from his Mayflower 1st Governor Bradford heritage. Siani died on the 2nd Floor of 85 Walker riddled with cancer, sneering down his long twisted nose at a joint.
The Mugging of the Muse is allegorical. The Muse represents Art, Inspiration & Freedom. The muggers are wearing masks to hide their identities, they carry knives to treacherously stab the muse. Muggers might pull the ethereal Muse into the dark, stinking inferno of sweatshop exhaust fumes in the alley. On Walker St the hydrant flows blood red warning. Dilapidated, bum infested Walker St circa 1970's NYC doesn't protect anyone. The Muse wants to be free. How/who/what can fight off evil? the artist & his dog? an angel? Light and Life? The sky? The clouds? Freedom itself?
The action takes place at the desolate corner of Cortlandt Alley at Walker before the recent pave & spray job w/ extra deodorizer. In recent decades films, TV shows, music videos from the Smurfs, Crocodile Dundee, POSE & Phil Collins has filmed in the Alley. PG's painting immortalizes the fearsome Cortlandt Alley past and allegorical. Victoriously, PG won the Appeal ~ His Constitutional Right to Freedom of Speech in The Mugging of the Muse battered yet intact. masks censors muggers vicious backstabbing freedom loft art oil paint linen brushes horizon soul music Sex Pistols Dylan Bach 85 Walker sewers Kent State Murder Malcolm X Black Panthers Vietnam Nixon JFK RFK censorship courts trials blood thirsty Alley rats filth garbage reek censorship Free Speech Allegory Muse Inspiration Artists Life Loft Rights Fight Make Love Not War Peace Freedom
The First Amendment protected the Right to Freedom of Speech in Historic 1982 Ruling