Censorship had been around since ancient times. The early Catholic Church exercises this when they remove the phallus from pagan Rome’s sculptures replacing them with leaves. I am just curious where did the Vatican archive those files of male organs? Also, there had been long standing debate between moralist and the art community regarding nude paintings. Just recently the art community in the Philippines cried foul when the premier art center The CCP gave in to the pressures of various sector to stop the exhibition “Kulo” (by including one controversial work and affecting the other artworks as well) which is supposedly to commemorate University of Santo Tomas 400 year as an institution and also coincides with the 150 year birth anniversary of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
Dr. Jose Rizal by the way suffers the extreme penalty of death under Spain because of censorship too. He was accused of inciting sedition, when all he was trying to do is educate his countrymen about the evils of a colonial rule by writing two Novels. Musicians, poet, painter, and performing artist are susceptible to criticism when they cross the norm or if they tried to go against the tides.
Can any individual claim artistic freedom? Well if so, what are the limitations or is there any limitation at all, since all freedom has to have its boundaries too? Should the government create a body like censorship committee to set by-laws and therefore give “ratings” and determine for themselves what the general public ought to see or hears. Most of this critics, if not all are from the academe and generally artist came from the masses.
If the artist is simply showcasing reality, which is according to his own perceptions and experiences, can any group or association condemn his right to “express” personal stands? One thing have to be investigated here too; can we rely all the artisan’s self-regulating themselves. I mean, can we trust the artist to censor his own works and be a responsible citizen.
How about the masses, are we also withholding from them their rights for information? By the way, the Freedom of Information bill is still under stipulation in congress.
Freedom of Expression falling under basic Human Rights, should be once and for all clearly define in our charter. The 1987 Constitution guarantees the free artistic expressions and the late Director Lino Broca himself advocates and insist to be included in the convention works “that will hurt…that will not make you rest…For the times are really bad, and given times like this, it is a crime to rest.”
I think it is improper to favor certain institution because of an artwork that is brewing its opposing sentiment against that group. Activists do that to our President more often than artist making funny caricature, when in fact these revolutionaries throw tomatoes on his replica or burn his effigy. But do we charge them with treason for mocking its leader? After all, character assassination is less evil than actually aiming sniper on his head. Now instead of burning churches which had been happening elsewhere in the world…these artists is just expressing their anger thru visual arts.
The sad truth that one must accepts is that Art does not always paint beautiful landscape, lovely faces, icons of Martyrs, or starry nights…they also paint hell and devils.
Now am I in favor of Artistic Freedom? I can not tell. As an artist myself, of course I will be bias on my own creation and will surely condone anything that will hurt my beliefs.
Here are some controversial Art pieces that you may want to discuss…
Now seeing goddess Lakshmi on swimsuit would enrage most Indian for sure, are you?
Now how about being sandwiched in the middle by this two piss-off sculpture done by David Cerny?
Paul Gauguin painted "Yellow Christ" in 1889 and why dutch women in particular kneeling on this?
In a sprawling gallery space in Milan, women with marbled skin mingle with marble plinths. One hundred and fifty people at a time streamed in to take in the sight of the vivid hues– green onyx, French red ochre, Portuguese pink marble, lapis lazuli, sodalite blue, macaubus light blue, and black Belgian– glowing against a white cube setting. As Roberta Smith said in a 1998 New York Times review of the artist’s work, “It’s art; it’s fashion. It’s good; it’s bad. It’s sexist; it’s not. It’s Vanessa Beecroft‘s performance art.” (artobserve.com)