This post brought to you by ignorance (you should really read the post and the comments)
, and standing up for what's important
I've already written a fair amount about my history with what became known as the AIDS crisis, so I'm not going to revisit ACT-Up or the March on Washington or the Quilt or...
The censorship of art, in particular art dealing with the AIDS crisis, has been going on for far too long, and the current outcry over Wojnarowicz's A Fire in my Belly
is just the latest example. I've seen this happen again and again over the years, and I agree with the Warhol Foundation's stance, that if the Smithsonian does not return this work to the exhibit, they should not get funding from arts organizations.
I was in college in DC when Mapplethorpe's work was banned from the Corcoran; I worked as the manager for a dance company worried about the NEA obscenity clause (Censorship - Art
); I exhibited a multi-media piece on AIDS and it's impact at the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore (http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1990-11-29/features/1990333132_1_artists-ahern-prayers
) and everyone who worked on the project was happy not to worry about censorship for once even though we had no money.
From my point of view, censoring artwork about difficult topics is never the answer. But the conservatives, the religious right, those who view nudity or violence or intelligence as obscene will continue to push for censorship. And that means that those of us who think art is important need to speak up now and every time we hear another artist is being censored.
Regardless of our opinion about the work being discussed, if we allow one work to be pulled because someone feels it's obscene or inappropriate then tomorrow it may be something we love. After all, some people consider Michaelangelo's David
obscene, and others D.H. Lawrence, and others Shakespeare.