Art Censorship Essay Research Paper From matthewksproulrosehulmanedu — страница 2

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speech and expression are both the backbone of government, congress is imposing legislation that instructs artists and performers what they can create or perform. When many people begin to think about censorship, they probably picture only foreign governments that dictate primordial cultures. Many artists underwent criticism five hundred years ago, yet art censorship has recently reappeared in the United States. The NEA has put new stipulations on dishing out its grants. No funded work may involve obscenity. This new regulation was mainly imposed because of two photographic shows which toured the country (Blucher). Artists Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano have created art that some myopic individuals do not wish to look at, so they do not want anyone else to see this art

either. Serrano was a catholic who thought there were sacred meanings of both symbols and body fluids (Heins 123). He took a wooden crucifix and emerged it into his bodily urine, then photographed the display. He titled the work of art “Piss Christ” (William 85). Robert Mapplethorne took pictures in the religious community. These photographs enraged many people in the religious community. Many artists angrily protest any and all government restrictions on federal funding. There were four other rejections of grants recently. Karen Finley performs scenes on stage that include an act in which she coats her nude body with chocolate and bean spouts. She stated her work was intended to advance her aggressive feminism, and to also decry the abuse of women (Gergen 80). She used

nudity for dramatic purposes rather than pornographic. “The naked female body was shown to portray the vulnerability of the female in today’s society” (Heins 107). John Heck’s grants were not permitted because his work includes a scene in which he urinates on a picture of Jesus in a toilet bowl (Gergen 80). Holly Hughes also had funds which were not renewed. She is a playwright who wishes to advance lesbianism (Gergen 80). Her performance includes a scene in which she places her hand up in her vagina and says “Jesus between Mother’s hips” (Gergen 80). Another artist who was discredited was a homosexual named Tim Mather. His work encouraged the education, understanding, and eventual acceptance of homosexual(Gergen 80). All of the artists had been funded before and

recommended again by their peers. They all emphasized sexual and political issues. This fear of art made the NEA a target (Heins 123). Religious buffs raised the question “why should taxpayers fund such filth that insults their faith?” This battle was not over dirty pictures, naughty words, or homosexuality. The debate was about whose beliefs were being attacked. A minority that holds a couple of positions in the government should not be able to impose their feelings on the rest of the nation. Artist’s merit cannot be determined by a simple vote (Heins 13). The right of artists to challenge conventional wisdom and values is the basic cornerstone of academic and artistic freedom (Heins 134). People have always had a huge fear of the unknown. Throughout history, change has

required much work. People are not easily persuaded to change their minds in this country. Civil Rights is just one example of how difficult change can be. Another style of change has been the acceptance of different lifestyles. Different religions, sexual lifestyles, and political feelings are not accepted easily here. Many people are even unwilling to communicate with others who do not follow accepted norms, or possess the same morals. That, of course, is their choice. They have that right, but they have absolutely no right to suppress the lifestyles of the “different” people. Just because Bob does not like Bill, that does not mean Bob can burn down Bill’s museum or library. Tolerance is one item people are not born with. It must be developed. The people which oppose

federal funding of certain styles of art are basically unwilling to let others express their opinions or beliefs. Some claim that their money should not be allowed to support such filth which they do not agree with. On the average each American contributes a measly sixty-eight cents per year towards the National Endowment for the Arts (Heins 130). Taxpayers have also helped fund the government by buying $600 toilet seats and $400 dollar hammers. They also pay the salary for someone who studies the flow rate of ketchup per day (Heins 130). This sixty-eight cents is certainly not a crucial blow to the pockets of many Americans. The upset taxpayers do not understand that nobody is making them look at the “filthy” art. All they have to do is close their eyes when the bad parts