Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Underlying Cowardice of the Arts

For as long as I can remember artists (in fact, the Arts as a whole) have styled themselves as "the Brave Little Tailor" to the big bad giant "Censorship." There is a pantheon of demi-gods in the art world, Arthur Miller (for 'the Crucible'), Andres Serrano (for 'Piss Christ', which I blogged about here), chocolate covered Karen Finley, Chris Ofili (for what is often called the 'Dung Madonna') and many others. Most of these demi-gods, with Arthur Miller being the exception, are so puerile that simply ignoring them would have been sufficient. They will be at most footnotes in Jansen's History of Art in another twenty-five years. And sadly for Mr. Miller, "the Crucible" has been so overplayed as to become trite.

Artists have shown their 'bravery' for years by tackling religious sensibilities. The target has often been Catholicism, because I suppose, the thrill of challenging the Inquisition. However, unlike Francisco Goya who actually lived and worked in Spain during the Inquisition, they have acted in a vacuum when it comes to persecution.

Now, as Roger Kimball points out in today’s Opinion Journal, artists are censoring themselves (with no sense of irony) at the mere suggestion that Islamic Fascists might be offended by their artwork.

Yoo-hoo! Big brave Artists! Where are you?

These artists show real bravery, but they are mostly forgotten in the Salons of the West.

Mr. Kimball asks
Poor transgressive rebel artists! How are they to shock the middle class anymore?

and The Glenn answers
They may have to go back to actually doing work that's, you know, good.

More comments by Ann Althouse.

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