Volume 74, Number 31 | December 08 - 14, 2004

Club doesn’t meditate on threats, as Falun Gong art show goes on

The National Arts Club received two telephone threats the night of an opening of an art show by Falun Gong practitioners at the club on Gramercy Park S., according to Arts Club president Aldon James.

The exhibit, including paintings and one sculpture depicting people being tortured in various ways by the Chinese police for doing Falun Gong meditation exercises, opened two weeks ago.

James said he couldn’t go into further detail on the nature of the threats.

“We handed everything over to law enforcement,” he said. “I’m not supposed to talk about it — but we had security here from the district attorney’s office.”

James said there was no way the club would buckle in the face of the threats and cancel the show — though, he said, a similar show of Falun Gong artwork planned at Mt. Sinai Hospital was canceled.

In fact, James said the opening was a smash and “broke all attendance records,” primarily thanks to the legions of Falun Gong members on the sidewalks who steered tourists and New Yorkers alike to the N.A.C.

“You know, they’re all over the city,” he noted.

“We were very proud of having the show here,” James said. “We made a lot of new friends. We felt very often that art can carry these powerful messages.

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