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Should Art Be Censored? Essay

Art is supposed to be the expression of feelings, the visual representation of what the artists is feeling or trying to show. All people need to have the freedom to express opinions and feelings to the extent that is acceptable, but who is to say what is acceptable? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but who is the beholder, and who gave them the superiority to decide what is P.C or not. Rudolph Giuliani has no right to decide for a city what is acceptable or not, art is an expression of a person, and putting certain restrictions on that is like fastening someone’s mouth shut.

So how to decide who puts borders on things, well Rudolph Giuliani thinks he can. Whoever is actually doing the artwork is the only one who knows the reasons behind its creation and the feelings that were present at the time. Boundaries in art are a hard thing to do, some people think the work of Damien Hirst is “sick, foul and outrageous” (Robinson 1) but the deeper meaning of this work may just not be understood by the viewer, so who says they should be able to censor it. No one is fully able to define all the borders for an artist’s work, people have different tastes and opinions.

For instance Giuliani goes up for re-election, “bans hot-dog vendors from midtown sidewalks [and] sells off public gardens in poor neighbourhoods to private developers”, (Robinson 1) so do all these decisions make him a viable resource for judging an art exhibit. He seems to be quite against a lot of modern things, so this would give him a large bias towards more traditional art. No one is able to put full and total boundaries on any type of art, different people have different opinions, and this does not mean what is good for one person is not totally acceptable to another.

Art is not always what we expect of it, if an artist has had a very hard life and is very depressed they do not have to make a “pleasant” artwork. This kind of censorship is unacceptable, having all artwork be pleasant is giving an outline to artists and would not let the express themselves to their full extent. Artists need to be able say whatever they need to express through their artworks. It is being claimed that having an unpleasant art show in a museum is a “violat[ion] [of] a provision in its lease … to educate, enlighten, and provide enjoyment” (Barstow 3) is the reason for museums. It is no ones rights to be able to say if these works actually do not do these┬áthree things. Artwork that is not pleasant can help educate people on the other part of humanity that we are not so familiar with. Making people only see work that is pleasant is sheltering and does not help people understand and accept world issues, these unpleasant artworks can help people understand the other part of the world that lives differently then us. This is a very important part of society, we need to be aware of unpleasant things, and some of these are best visualised through some unpleasant but very factual artworks.

No one should be able to judge artwork, they are not even qualified to do this. Being qualified for this is not something you can get, but it comes from experience. The museum in New York is just demonstrating some very interesting art works and should be commended for its bravery in doing so. The government has no right to decide that this is not good for the museum, it is worse if they give them this eviction. It is a very large museum and having it leave the city would cost it a large amount of money. Also “the museum…cannot responsibly make plans for future exhibitions” (Barstow 4) if it is under the impression that it could be evicted because that would not be fair to the donators of the artwork. Every city needs some culture, and with culture and art comes a very broad amount of feelings and opinions, having museums means that you have to be able to accept what comes with it. Some of these artworks may not be acceptable for some age groups, but this is no reason to close it down, or even challenge the museum with an eviction.

Rudolph Giuliani has no right to decide for the city what is right to show in a museum, putting borders on the artistic expression on an artists is like telling them not to do art anymore. Just because you do not agree with the content does not mean it has no value for other people to see, people need to open up and be more welcoming of new things. Being close-minded just keeps us in the same mind set and does not help anyone become a better or more enlightened person.


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