Love & Kisses to Censors Film Society [1963 Membership Card]
New York: New American Cinema Group [Film-makers’ Cooperative], 1963. Offset on cardstock. 2 1/4 x 4 in. Double-sided card featuring text on one side and graphic on verso. Near-fine. Item #5882
Membership card for the Love & Kisses to Censors Film Society, a division of the New American Cinema Group, the legal name of the Film-makers’ Cooperative, and a tongue-in-cheek take on the high stakes battle the Cooperative was waging against an increasingly repressive regime of censorship.
The fight culminated the following year when Jonas Mekas, Ken Jacobs, Florence Karpf, and Jerry Sims were arrested for organizing a screening of Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures; the resulting obscenity trial led to a significant relaxation of the censorship that had been afflicting the underground film community. During the wave of censorship, the Gramercy Arts Theatre, which (as this membership card states) hosted the Film-maker’s Cooperative’s weekly screenings, was shut down by the city for showing unlicensed [unapproved] films.
A memorable, well-designed, and ironic artifact from a serious battle for free expression in the United States.