Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Is it Censorship?

So let's talk about that exhibit at The Smithsonian.  You can go here to see the picture at the heart of the controversy, and read the story; I'm not going to post it just because I don't want to have to look at it every time I open my own blog.  But, is it censorship?

The exhibit is offensive to many, yes.  But, is it "art"?  Even though the exhibit is supposedly funded by private donations, it's in the public Smithsonian.  Is it right to demand that it be taken down?

Are we on a slippery slope, here?


Lynn said...

Art? Hardly. It's depraved and sick; its sole purpose to insult and shock eighty percent of the population. Censorship? No, since the Smithsonian is a publicly supported institution. Want to exhibit? Do it in a private museum.

BTW, if this is art why don't the artists do a Mohammad covered in ants or dung flung onto it? Oh, I know, first we'd hear that it was Islamfobic, Muslims would be outraged, and the Smithsonian might be burned down. However, the "art" would not even be considered for such an exhibit.

Chris M. said...

It is art. Very, very bad art. But there is no reason why the government needs to be spending any money on art. It is so unnecessary. The desire to express and to create objects of beauty is basic to the human condition. Humans will create art whenever they exist with or without government encouragement. To subsidize this piece of crap is just a bad business decision.

yukio ngaby said...

You know I'm really failing to see what the big deal is over the art that's there. "Depraved and sick"? I just don't see it. Now the whole "Hide/Seek Family Friends Day" was a really bad idea... but it was just that-- a bad idea.

And I gotta agree with Chris M. that it is art-- just very, very bad art. And I also gotta agree that the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities should be some of the first things up on the federal chopping block. This exhibit having very little to do with that opinion though.

Jim said...

"In fact, the artists's intention was to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim."
I'm afraid I can't make the connection between an AIDS victim and Jesus on the cross covered by ants. I would challenge anyone to look at it and come up with that conclusion. It needed to go because it is terrible art. I agree with Chris M.

Just a conservative girl said...

I agree that it is terrible art and I wouldn't want to go and see it. That being said, it shouldn't have been removed.

We can have a dicussion on the worthiness of tax payer dollars going to support The Smithosian, but it is a different issue.

It is a slippery slope of censorship, because we all know that their are people in this country that have a problem with art that promotes a postive image of Christianity. If we can remove what we consider bad, then so can they.

Quite Rightly said...

Gov't and most foundations went down the art censorship slope on greased skids long ago. When was the last time you saw a gov't or foundation-supported "artwork" that didn't reek of PC, represent an "oppressed" group and/or trash the U.S.? Do you think a respectfully representational portrait of Christ painted by a living artist could find its way into a portrait museum when a photograph of a couple of nude gay guys was available?

The entire point of contemporary art is to destroy any concept of beauty or harmony as capitalistic trash. I see this stuff all the time. I've even seen dried human excrement sitting on a piece of wood (not making this up) defined as "interesting sculpture" and traveling from museum to museum in a sponsored show. Some of the newer stuff is so lewd that museum staff have to rush to cover it when children are expected to walk by.

The curatorial "trick" to putting stuff like this over at holiday time is to put it up a couple of months ahead and take it down just shortly after the holiday. That way, it isn't a "holiday exhibit": It just "happens" to be up during the holiday. Like curators don't own calendars.

To add injury to insult, the costs of hanging, housing, insuring, crating, and shipping this stuff is enormous. My view: anyone who wants to look at this stuff ought to do it on their own dime. And for the really perverse stuff, you can bet that there will be people willing to shell out that dime.