self defeating nude censorship

Study No. 1 by Jeff Hebron

Besides, attending an art show is a matter of choice, not a requirement, and anyone easily offended can simply stay away.

Such censorship is ultimately self-defeating, because it only draws attention to the banned works. Would Hebron’s painting have received anywhere near the same level of attention had it remained on display?

People do not need protection from paintings. But Temecula residents should be worried when city government starts deciding which artistic works are appropriate for public consumption.

[From Censorship shame | Editorials | | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California]

This article raises the issue that I have never understood about censorship. by censoring pieces indiscriminately there is a greater opportunity to create publicity for the very work that they are trying to squash. how does this make sense? if the aim is to sweep the piece under the rug then rely on the judgement of the patrons. they don’t have to look, they don’t have to attend and they will almost certainly not care either way. however, when a piece is censored, the artist receives publicity, the work receives publicity and the organizers receive flack.

would this piece receive publicity if it were just involved in the exhibition? are artists going to try to push the boundaries in order to receive this kind of publicity? the rewards are great for the great unknowns and the losses very few.

*edit* The city of Temecula has issued a formal apology to the artist. while a very nice gesture it doesn’t address whether the work will be shown and seems to be more about protecting their own interests and votes. you can read it here.

One thought on “self defeating nude censorship

  1. Politicians couldn’t care less about the First Amendment or free speech or art. Politicians are motivated solely by one thing: getting reelected. They would gladly roast live puppies over an open fire fueled by the world’s greatest artistic treasures if they knew it would get them reelected.

    The city’s non-apology and new rules for exhibits makes it patently clear that free expression does not figure into it. They invoke the ultra-effective strategy of claiming they are only doing what’s in the best interest of the children, essentially shutting down any widespread public concern about censorship. What is freedom when compared to tiny helpless children? While it may seem that there was a big uproar over censorship, the mayor knows that the silent majority really don’t give a shit about free expression. Compared to a potential shit storm over the city permitting a public display of indecency, accusations of censorship by a few loudmouth artists barely registers on the radar.

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