Creative Global Network for the Visual Arts


Art Censorship Controversies: A Brief History [NSFW]
11:01 am Thursday Dec 2, 2010 by Sam Schlinkert

After raising criticisms from the Catholic League and members of the House of Representatives, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has removed a video from an exhibition called Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, which explores, among other things, homosexuality. The video, called “Fire in My Belly,” was made by David Wojnarowicz in the 1980s and depicts a crucified victim with ants crawling over his body. Wojnarowicz died of AIDS in 1992. With Congress stepping in and the debate of how taxpayers money should be used to promote the arts rekindled, some think we’re back in the famed cultural wars of the 1980s. Here’s a quick refresher on past controversies; be sure to let us know what you think in the comments.

Piss Christ is the name of a photograph taken by Andres Serrano in 1987. As the name implies, the photo is of a plastic crucifix submerged in Serrano’s urine. When it was exhibited in North Carolina in 1989 with money from the National Endowment of the Arts, Senator Jesse Helms said the work “dishonor[ed] the Lord” and that he “resent[ed] it and I think the vast majority of the American people do.” Ultimately Serrano received death threats and lost grants as a result of the work, but also enjoyed a rise in fame. cont'd via link...

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