San Antonio Arts Commission Declines to Rule on Queer Artist’s Censored Video

Xandra Ibarra (Video capture)

Originally published in the San Antonio Current.

Despite being taken up at a meeting Tuesday of the San Antonio Arts Commission, Xandra Ibarra’s controversial video artwork Spictacles: La Tortillera remains in limbo.

Ibarra’s piece was removed in mid-February from the “XicanX: New Visions” exhibition after City Attorney Andy Segovia deemed it was “obscene content” and inappropriate for display at a public facility. Later that month, the Centro de Artes subcommittee voted unanimously to recommend reinstatement of the piece.

At its meeting Tuesday, the San Antonio Arts Commission decided not to issue a recommendation whether to return the video to the show. Instead, the commission voted to let city officials make that call.

However, Debbie Racca-Sittre, director of San Antonio’s Department of Arts and Culture, was present at the meeting but declined to weigh in.

Xandra Ibarra (Video capture)

“How much more deliberation has to take place?” asked Michael Menchaca, who co-curated “XicanX: New Visions” with Suzy González.

“It’s been a month since this issue took place, and it’s very public now. It’s time to make a decision.”

City officials were unavailable for immediate comment on the latest development in the unfolding story.

“I was so disappointed in the Arts Commission,” said San Antonio artist Mark Anthony Martinez, whose work is also included in “XicanX: New Visions.”

“They couldn’t even make a stand — even within their own committee.”

Although the piece still cannot be viewed at Centro de Artes, “La Tortillera” is available to stream on Vimeo.


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