6.13.89 Hero image


The Cancelling of the Mapplethorpe Exhibition

JUNE 13, 2019 to OCTOBER 6, 2019
Tuesday–Friday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 1 p.m.–6 p.m.

Opening night party, June 13, 2019
6 – 8 p.m. in the Flagg Atrium


6.13.89 explores the highly politicized and publicized cancellation of the 1989 exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment. On June 13, 1989, the Corcoran Gallery of Art bowed to significant political pressure, cancelling the retrospective less than three weeks before it was scheduled to open to the public. 6.13.89 aims to capture the most comprehensive and intimate account of its closure, tracing the first interest in the exhibition through the director’s apology for the cancellation and the subsequent fallout. The objects on display here are primarily from the Corcoran Gallery of Art archives. They were selected from thousands of documents and represent the correspondence, notes, ephemera and official records surrounding the Mapplethorpe cancellation. By exhibiting these documents publicly for the first time, we have the opportunity to examine and understand the events that surrounded this dramatic act of self-censorship and their continued impact on cultural institutions today.




The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Humanities DC
P.M. Exhibits LLC



Frank Herrera
Andrea Pollan
Bill Wooby

Andrea Deitz, Assistant Professor of Exhibition Design
Suse Anderson, Assistant Professor of Museum Studies
Students from the Fall 2018 Museums & Digital Technology Course
The Special Collections Research Center at Gelman Library
The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences




Artie Foster, M.A. Art History '19

Maddy Henkin is an art historian and curator. She earned her Master’s in Art History in 2019 from the George Washington University, where she was awarded an Ebling Endowment Graduate Art History Fellowship and the Melvin Lader Memorial Prize for outstanding work by a first-year Art History MA student. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, she managed the New York City location of the Eric Firestone Gallery and helped to organize exhibitions including Miriam Schapiro: The California Years and Henry Chalfant: 1980. Maddy has held curatorial internships at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she also worked as a Curatorial Project Researcher for Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection. While earning her M.A., she curated Extra at GW's Gallery 102 and presented scholarships at the Feminist Art History Conference and the NEXT Symposium. Maddy holds a B.A. from Barnard College and will pursue her PhD in Art History at the University of Southern California beginning in Fall 2019.

Sanjit Sethi is currently the Director of the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at the George Washington University. Born in Rochester, New York, Sethi has taught at numerous academic institutions, including the Memphis College of Art; the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology; and the California College of the Arts. His work deals with issues of nomadism, identity, the residue of labor, and memory. Sanjit has been Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) and previous to that was Director of the Center for Art and Public Life and Barclay Simpson Professor/Chair of Community Arts at the California College of the Arts.



Rina Alfonso Osawa, M.A. Exhibition Design ‘13, is an exhibition and graphic designer who has worked on projects such as The First Ladies at the National Museum of American History and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. She currently runs and owns Studio Aorta, a creative studio based in the Washington, DC, metro area whose clients include the National Building Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service. Rina established Studio Aorta with a desire to design exhibitions about art and history, with a focus on relevant contemporary issues, including social justice narratives. She believes that content is enhanced by artful design and that even simple interpretive experiences can make a lasting impact. Her exhibitions allow visitors a moment to reflect on their place in certain narratives and give them an opportunity to think about how they can take action on issues that matter to them. Previous to attending the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, Rina attended Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Culture, with a Major in Art History.



Danielle Coates, M.A. Exhibition Design '19

Danielle received her BFA from George Mason University in Graphic Design. She focused on print design, which lead her to incorporating printmaking and book arts into her practice.

During her time at Mason, she was the Coordinator of Graphic Design and Branding for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education. In this role Danielle was introduced to student activism and cultural competency.  As an artist and designer she embodies this experience in her professional work.

When applying to graduate school Danielle wanted to do it all: be a curator, be an activist, be an artist, be a designer. Exhibition Design was an opportunity to expanded her designs, while remaining in the world of museums.

Danielle currently works at the GW Corcoran School of Arts and Design as an Exhibition Coordinator and the Inter-American Development Bank as a Exhibition Design Consultant.



Matthew Jenkins, B.F.A. Interior Architecture '19
Yacine Fall, B.F.A. Fine Art '19
Erin Graham, B.F.A. Fine Art '20



Leah Richardson, Research and Instruction Librarian, Special Collections Research Center, George Washington University Libraries



Julie Victoria Hansen is a freelance graphic designer currently based in Washington, DC. She received her B.F.A. in Graphic Design with honors from the GW Corcoran School of the Arts & Design in May 2018 where her senior thesis explored designers' multi-media working relationships. That spring she was handpicked to act as the student speaker and emcee at the GW Commencement dinner, won first place in Graphic Design at the Adobe Creative Jam, and has presented her work and research throughout the GW Corcoran community. Her previous work experience includes POLITICO Focus, where she worked in both print and digital native advertising, and the marketing department at I.M.P., which manages the 9:30 Club amongst other local music venues. Ms. Hansen's work has ranged from branding to advertising, publication and environmental design, music and fashion, to exhibition and event planning. She is a big proponent of using nontraditional techniques, unusual materials, bold graphics and bright colors. Fluent in French, Ms. Hansen will be teaching English this coming fall as part of the Centre International d’Études Pédagogiques program in Paris, where she hopes to continue her work as a freelance graphic designer.



Naomi Rothwell



Natasha Bailey
Kym Rice
Carey Stipe Lavallee



Susan Breitkopf



Ashley Lanes, B.F.A. Photography '19
Kellen Hope, M.A. Museum Studies '19


The George Washington University
Flagg Building, Atrium Galleries
500 17th Street
Washington, DC 20006