Art and Its Contexts Controversies over Public Funding

Art and Its Contexts: Controversies over Public Funding for the Arts3

“Should&nbsppublic &nbspmoney &nbsphelp &nbsppay &nbspfor &nbspart&nbspthat &nbspsome &nbsptaxpayers &nbspbelieve &nbsp to &nbspbe&nbspoffensive &nbspand &nbspindecent?”

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Thefurious culture wars centered the photographer named Andres Serranoas his photograph was a notorious one which was titled as PissChrist (1987).A debate was soon erupted over the usage of public funds to promotethe offensive art when he got sponsored by the National Endowment forArts. The Piss Christ was titled as obscene and hate-filled by theleader of American Association. The obscenity test was perceived asan prurient interest in sex, offensive representations and lackedserious literary or artistic value. This test also included thatthere should be no censorship of offensive ideas.

Themuseum was also willing to display the offensive Holy Virgin Mary andwhen Giuliana that the painting fosters religious intolerance, it wasclaimed by the museum that government is not interested in theprotection of any religious views that are distasteful to them.&nbspThework of Ofili’sand Cox’s takes a critical view of Catholicism as well.

However,a very small percentage goes into funding for the arts as the bulkgoes in educational programs. The attacks on giving public money forthe arts continue to claim that indecent art should not be paid bythe taxpayers. There are people who oppose public funding foroffensive art and they agree to the fact that government funding willnot increase the constitutional problems. But funding in arts isconsidered important by the Congress for the sake of education,cultural tourism, and maintenance of U.S. as a culturally developedcountry

&nbspTherefore,some taxpayers are paying in order to have a more open and democraticmarketplace filled with ideas although the ideas may be offensive.According to the government and taxpayers, art is a social necessity,not a luxury. And regardless of the many indecencies, they willcontinue to fund the art museums.


RES:Anthropology and Aesthetics. (1992), Vol. 21, 5-11

Will,George F. (1976). High Culture and Basic Politics: Arts Policymakingand Interest-Group Politics. Aesthetic Education,Vol 14, 28-34