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Andy Warhol Foundation Advocates Against Censorship And More Arts News

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WAAFA BILAL WARHOL FOUNDATION
CHICAGO - MAY 18: Iraqi born artist Wafaa Bilal eats lunch in his Domestic Tension exhibit at the Flatfile galleries May 18, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. Participants can log onto the internet to watch and shoot paintballs at Bilal as he lives in the installation during the month of May. Bilal hopes to draw attention to the intensity of daily life in Iraq as he spends his days and nights trying to avoid being shot. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) | Getty Images

In 2008, the Sanctuary for Independent Art, a small media arts organization based in the lower-income town of Troy, New York, made news when it was abruptly shut down after exhibiting the politically charged work of Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal. Now, with the help of the Andy Warhol Foundation, the nonprofit is making a comeback with a new public art program.

The Warhol Foundation has been an outspoken advocate for the organization since the Sanctuary showed Bilal's "Virtual Jihad," a contentious video-game based artwork that tasked the players with shooting and killing George Bush. The Foundation donated $10,000 to the Sanctuary to address the local government's alleged reason for closing the institute (narrow doors that violated building codes) and called in the New York Civil Liberties Union to help file a lawsuit against against the city, amounting to a $50,000 grant that the government was required to match dollar for dollar. “In the end. this very dark moment in our organizational history had a really great ending," remarked Sanctuary director Steve Pierce to Blouin Artinfo. "[The Warhol Foundation] was like the arts cavalry."

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