Over the years I have written four letters to The New York Times.Two of them were published which shows that my view points were taken into consideration.

Monday, March 27, 2006

SELF CENSORSHIP



Are we going back to the time of covering the genitals of a statue with a fig leaf, afraid of offend the prudes and puritans? Are we living in a state of fear afraid of creating an art which can be seen as offensive? In the last few years we have seen the climbing of the self censorship which sometimes comes in the shape of boycotts and which can lead to open censorship. Some time ago the Brooklyn Museum was threatened by the then administration of the city for exhibiting “Sensation” an avan-garde British show.” Boycott the Brooklyn Museum!” cried the puritans and conservatives. Mapplethorpe was threatened by the National Endowment for the Arts for depicting nude photos of men and women sometimes engaged into sex. More recently a theater in New York City withdrew a play named “My Name is Rachel Corrie” afraid of people who were already making threats to boycott it. This attitude curbs the creativity of an artist and leads to stagnation. If one don’t like provocative art, do not go to see it, but a call for a boycott is taking away the rights of others who appreciate freedom of expression. Remember how many artists suffered the consequences of self censorship in countries like Spain, Portugal and Russia. How many talents could not unleash their creativity, afraid of reprisals and even jail. Luckily Max Ernst ( 1891/1976) the dadaist and surrealist artist , escaped the latest attacks on art when he created “The Blessed Virgin Chastises the Infant Jesus... illustrated at the left.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Lizzy said...

great blog, Hely, and great painting. I agree totally about the Rachel
Corrie play. lizzy

6:14 AM

 
Anonymous Harold Pardey - Canada said...

Good topic. I think self censorship has more than one head. One is the censorship one does to protect oneself, ie financially or even physicaly. The second is when one censors work because it could cause unintended damage such as possibly work that unintentionally furthers destructive enterprises such as child pornograpy.

I can understand a person who has to make a living for themselves and family has a necessity to self censor. One can see this necessity in the great number of pictures of flowers on tables compared to the poverty in number of pictures of the 'horsemen of the apocalypse'. This oddly in days when gardeners are held in contempt and warmongers applauded. It can as well be seen in the works bought by the corporations. The only artist who should take it in the neck about this form of self censorship is the one that is financially independent and is more or less free to speak out.

12:17 PM

 

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