Art and Censorship
I am becoming increasingly alarmed at the way artistic expression is rapidly becoming the new object of hatred from the religious right. Here in Australia we are currently embroiled in a debate as to whether art should come under the same classifications as film and some literature.
According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald there is now a Senate Inquiry headed by conservative Christian, Guy Barnett that has wide implications across the spectrum of artist endeavour. Barnett was a great critic of photographer Bill Henson in the controversy surrounding his 2010 show, which features semi-nude children, and it seems that this was just the start of something bigger and much uglier. Now we face the prospect of movie classifications with no full frontal nudity permitted whatsoever, male or female, and all artwork to be classified and restricted if it contains nudity or adult themes.
Couple that with the destruction of the infamous Immersion (Piss Christ) by Andres Serrano in France on the weekend and the recent attack on a Gaugin masterpiece because according to the attacker it depicted homosexuality and I wonder if the world has gone mad.
Does this mean that some of the greatest works of art and culture that grace our museums and galleries worldwide will be placed under restriction to viewing in future, because it may contain the depiction of a breast, buttock or penis? And what the photos my parent have of me as a semi-clad, or even 'sky-clad' child? Will they be considered to be child pornographers?
And what about cherubs? Will it be illegal to paint them too?
I wonder if the church will again pay artists and artisans to paint and sculpt fig-leaves onto the genitalia of any new nude painting to be exhibited, like they did after the Council of Trent. We live in interesting times and as an artist I find it scary that no longer does "artistic merit" has anything to do with it. Why do I get the feeling we are living in something resembling the dying days of the Weimar Republic?