On August 30, CIR filed a Motion to enjoin the state of California from enforcing its ban on the display of the Confederate Flag on state property against artist Timothy Desmond. If granted, the injunction would allow Desmond to enter his painting, The Attack, in the 2016 Big Fresno Fair. Desmond previously attempted to enter The Attack in the 2015 Big Fresno Fair art competition, but state officials told Desmond he could not display his work because the painting – depicting a civil war battle – contained an image of the Confederate flag.
CIR’s motion argues that application of the California statute to private artists who seek to display works of art at a public art show so clearly violates the First Amendment that Desmond should be permitted to enter this year’s art show while his case against the statute proceeds in court. Since this is the last show in which Desmond can enter this particular painting, continued refusal by state officials to allow display of his painting would irreparably harm him. In the absence of any compelling reason to censor Desmond’s art, CIR is asking the court to promptly rule that Desmond can enter his painting in this year’s fair without further interference.