Sunday, 17 November 2013

The War On Culture

The War On Culture
Carole S. Vance

As a response to Vance's article, written on behalf of the fundamentalist attack on the National Endowment for the Arts in 1989, several controversial, sexual explicit and religiously "perverse" images put forward by individual artists stirred up moral panic within the conservative party. At the heart of the matter was a photograph, created by Andres Serrano titled Piss Christ depicting a wood-and-plastic crucifix submerged in the artist's urine. Created to undermine the religious exploitation of televangelists and syndicated preachers. Another example, an artwork by Eric Fischl painted a fully clothed boy looking at a naked man swinging at a baseball was attacked on the grounds of promoting "child molestation" and therefore unrealistic and bad art.

Vance states her conclusion that these outcries by the political right-wing against sexual images to be their method of lowering social diversity, and to restore the political program to their favour. Whether the funding for the NEA be public or private, and as art be censored or uncensored, each sphere, public and private is increasingly becoming more blurred, as in the article of the Public Sphere by Jürgen Habermas.

"In struggles for social change, both reformers and traditionalists know that changes in personal life are intimately linked to changes in public domains–not only through legal regulation, but also through information, images, and even access to physical space available in public arenas."

Preserving the fundamental source that art to be a liberal and democratic sphere prevents the culture from losing its intrinsic value – a vehicle for social change and breaking through the archaic molds of ignorance. The ways people look at an image or artwork impact their intepretant. Artwork should always be viewed in a way as to analyze it's subtext, and not denote what can be taken from it, but rather look for connotative meaning.
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