Greenspon, a gallery in Manhattan’s West Village, has canceled its next exhibition following a backlash over the inclusion of Boyd Rice, an artist and avant-garde musician alleged to be a neo-Nazi, fascist, racist, misogynist, and anti-Semite. The exhibition was to be a two-artist show, featuring Rice and Darja Bajagić, but on Wednesday the gallery’s owner, Amy Greenspon, cancelled the opening reception, and on Thursday she called off the show entirely. The decision was informed by criticisms and threats from people in the art community over Rice’s allegedly extremist political leanings.
“As contexts, boundaries and political realities continue to transform, so do the the codes of what can and cannot be accepted,” Greenspon wrote in an email announcement quoted by ARTnews on Wednesday. “I deeply regret my lack of oversight when I planned this exhibition, and I apologize to anyone the gallery may have offended when we sent out our email announcement.”
The allegations against Rice largely stem from public associations with white supremacists. A photograph published in teen magazine Sassy Magazine in 1989 shows him holding a switchblade alongside American Front leader Bob Heick. Around the same time, he appeared on white supremacist Tom Metzger’s public access television program Race and Reason. In the years since, Rice has denied allegations that he is a Nazi, but his public appearances and performances have occasionally been met with protests.
“People see the word ‘Nazi’ or ‘racist,’ and they get emotional,” Rice told ARTnews after the exhibition was canceled. “The people saying these things don’t really know about me, and aren’t familiar with the stuff I’ve done.”