Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Greg Sept. 24: Art worth fighting over?

For Greg's discussion group on Sept. 24, we will be reading, watching and discussing the "art of controversy":

= Watch the video above, variously titled "Innocence of Muslims," "The Real Life of Muhammad," etc., which is said to have sparked protests across the world.

= “Inside the strange Hollywood scam that spread chaos across the Middle East: A group of rightwing extremists aimed to destabilize post-Mubarak Egypt and roil US politicians. They got their wish” by Max Blumenthal, The Guardian, Sept. 13, 2012.
= “Boston mural: A ‘rorshach test for idiots and racists’: The Brazilian street art twins, Os Gemeos, reveal their latest work, and Facebook erupts” by Hrag Vartanian, Hyperallergic, Aug. 8, 2012. 
= “Smithsonian Institution fails to stand up to anti-gay bullies” by Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 6, 2010.
= “The Art of Controversy” by PBS Newshour, Oct. 8, 1999. On New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s efforts to shut down a show of contemporary British art in Brooklyn because he found it “anti-Catholic.”

Questions to consider: What were the aims of these controversial artworks? Did the artists achieve their goals? How are we to respond to offensive art? What art is worth fighting over? How does this relate to the free speech maxim: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"?

Related unrequired reading:
= "Controversial 'Piss Christ' art back in New York," New York Post, Sept. 21, 2012.
= "Heathen President Refuses to Condemn Piece of Art from 1987" by Louis Peitzman, Gawker, Sept. 22, 2012.

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