Do moral values supersede other areas of value, including the aesthetic, and if so, under what conditions?

USTIFYING CONTROVERSIAL ART IN ARTS EDUCATION 

Do moral values supersede other areas of value, including the aesthetic, and if so, under what conditions?

In recent years, tensions between the art world and other segments of society have reached a breaking point. Richard Serra’s Titled Arc was installed and subsequently removed amid a firestorm of public resentment and art world resistance. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fought for its very existence against charges that its grants assisted in the creation and exhibition of immoral and blasphemous works of art; works cited included Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ and Karen Finley’s performance piece, We Keep Our Victims Ready, during which she smears chocolate syrup over her naked body.[1] The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati and its director, Dennis Barrie, were indicted for pandering obscenity by daring to open The Perfect Moment, a show of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs that included homoerotic images and images of nude and seminude children, to public view. At the Chicago Art Institute, visitors to a student exhibition were invited to tread across an American flag spread on the floor. These are only a few highlights of the furor generated by art works; indeed; “controversial art” has virtually become a categorical term.

Some tensions have eased as specific cases have been resolved. The NEA, after long and heated congressional debate, was reauthorized, and content restrictions pertaining to potentially obscene material (restrictions that had previously been tacked on to an appropriations bill) were diluted to stipulate only that the NEA chairperson consider “general standards of decency” when making final grant decisions.[2] Dennis Barrie and the CAC were acquitted of all charges. Jurors interviewed later admitted they found the selected Mapplethorpe photos shown to them to be “lewd” and “distasteful,” but determined that serious works of art do not have to be “pretty.”[3] The Perfect Moment had its final showing in Boston and is now a moment in art history. The student exhibition in Chicago has come and gone, and permission to reinstall the flag piece in a subsequent exhibition was denied by school officials. Only a scar on a concrete plaza remains where Titled Arc once stood.

Not surprisingly, the resolution of these political and legal issues has been a source of complete satisfaction to few in the art world and a source of dissatisfaction to many harsh critics of the art world. Indeed, conservative interest groups have promised continued vigilance over NEA funding policies, decision-making processes, and granting decisions. Further, since Congress has empowered the NEA to recover funds from any of its grantees found guilty of obscenity charges in a court of law, additional legal challenges to contemporary artists on obscenity grounds will doubtless occur in the future. Meanwhile, some artists are already rattling sabers to challenge the “decency” clause that may be invoked by the National Endowment’s chairperson in order to deny a grant application.[4] Is not decency a concept subject to interpretation?

Still, the current period of relative quiescence in relations between the art world and other segments of society presents an opportunity to forgo impassioned rhetoric and shed some light (rather than heat) on issues surrounding these recent controversies. Our task here is to analyze key concepts found in arguments surrounding controversial works of art. These include the concept of art itself, the relationship of art and morality, and artistic freedom in the art world. The organizing question in this article, however, has a practical purpose–it is an educational question, one with implications for educational policy and practice. Specifically, what stance should art educators in schools, museums, and other community settings take regarding the use of controversial contemporary art works in the teaching of art?

Is It Art?

The recent controversies over works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Andres Serrano, David Wojnarowicz, Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, and others have raised the question of whether such works can be considered “art” or are more reasonably viewed as something else, namely, pornography or acts of blasphemy. This question should not be avoided (as many arts advocates speaking out in defense of the NEA have tried to do[5]) in arguments about government support of controversial art or, for that matter, in addressing the educational issue posed above. After all, while demonstrating that such works are indisputably “art” would not entail an educational obligation to teach about them, to demonstrate that they are something else would obviously undercut any claim that they are appropriate subjects of instruction, at least in art education or museum settings.

One possible answer to the question, Is it art? is to say that controversial art works can be experienced aesthetically; that their qualities of shape, line, form, and expressiveness can be attended to with a proper “aesthetic attitude.”6 But while an aesthetic attitude might allow one to experience an object as if it were art, it is also possible to similarly attend to non-art objects with the aim of having an aesthetic experience; for example, a sunrise, a constellation of stars, and so on. One could, if one wished, enter an art museum and aesthetically attend to door stops and water fountains, ignoring exhibited art works. Some would argue, however, that the most authentic and significant aesthetic experience comes from an encounter with a work of art. A patently offensive image would probably not yield an aesthetic experience; to call it art would be an error in aesthetic judgment. Further, as Marcia Eaton has argued, an aesthetic experience can and should be balanced and influenced by moral conscience; for instance, it would be inappropriate to have an aesthetic experience from an image depicting violence against women.[7] A traditionalist formalist position that draws a necessary connection between visual qualities, aesthetic experience, and arthood is not always sufficient to defend an object of art. The public probably would not accept such a position anyway. As Ellen Goodman wrote in reference to Mapplethorpe’s photographs, “The seven photographs at issue in this trial contain some grotesque subjects. In one of them a man urinates into another man’s mouth. Show me somebody who can look at that photograph and think about the composition, the symmetry, the classical arc of the liquid and I’ll show you someone with an advanced degree in fine arts.”[8]

Another possible answer to the Is it art? question can be framed in reference to the artist’s intention. Dennis Barrie, director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, who braved imprisonment over his belief that the controversial works of Mapplethorpe are “art,” argues that Mapplethorpe worked self-consciously in the classical tradition of art, seeking proportion, balance, directness, and clarity.[9] In other words, it was the artist’s intention to create art in the classical tradition. But other interpretations of this artist’s intentions have been offered. Hilton Kramer argues that Mapplethorpe’s intention in creating his “XYZ Portfolio” was to outrage and shock conventional sexual attitudes, that his work was “designed to aggrandize and abet erotic rituals involving coercion, degradation, bloodshed and the infliction of pain.”[10]

Along a somewhat different line, it can be argued that it is the intention of Mapplethorpe, Serrano, and others to create anti-art. Anti-art is created in large part as an act of liberation from the conventions of traditional art or merely to mock those conventions. It is work that has severed any connection with the aesthetic. Indeed, as Monroe Beardsley sadly observed, “the disconnection of art from the aesthetic has been hailed as the most significant development in contemporary visual art, as a final freeing of the artist from all obligation.”[11] Anti-art, it should be noted, might more accurately be called “anti-aesthetic art,” since it may still be classified as art by virtue of its necessary conceptual and societal connection to the art world. As Arthur Danto has pointed out, rebellious artists can only be recognized as such when compared with other phenomena in the theory and history of art.[12]

But arguing that it was the intention of these artists in these cases to create anti-art raises serious questions. The concept of the intentional fallacy is concerned with the logical relevance of information about the intentions of an artist to the interpretation and evaluation of his or her work. Such information is not uninteresting, but it can misguide acts of critical interpretation by coercing viewers to read meaning into a work of art that the artist has in fact failed to express.[13] Almost everyone knows from personal experience that there can be an awful gap between one’s intentions and realizations. The intentional fallacy can be extended, by implication, to decisions regarding whether something is anti-art or not. Even if one knew in some verifiable sense that these artists intended to create anti-art, this information would not be sufficient to decide that their work is anti-art. That contention would have to be confirmed with other forms of evidence.

The dubiousness of using an artist’s intentions in deciding whether something is art or not could, at least theoretically, be remedied by reference to the judgment of others. In this regard, works by Mapplethorpe, Serrano, and Wojnarowicz have been exhibited as serious art in numerous prestigious art museums and galleries throughout the country. In April 1990, the American Association of Museum Directors (AAMD) passed a resolution endorsing “the validity of the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition, The Perfect Moment, in its totality” and praising the CAC and its director “for upholding the highest standards of the museum profession.”[14] Furthermore, the work of each of these artists has been judged worthy of public funding by peer-panel-review processes. In other words, the work of these artists clearly has been judged to be art by professionals in the art world and, thus, seems to have passed one of George Dickie’s tests for defining art–it has been conferred with the status of candidacy for appreciation by members of the art world.[15]

Does that settle the issue? Apparently not. Critic Hilton Kramer, a bona fide member of the art world by virtually any definition, argues that we cannot accept the judgment of the art world as absolute, or even assume that it can make wise decisions in these matters. Too often, he says, the art world has mistakenly equated “sheer provocation” with artistic originality.[16] The art world today is also becoming more diffuse as a result of the entry of new arts administrators into positions of leadership who do not necessarily share the cohesive cultural assumptions of their elders about what is art and what is not.[17] Thus, it is difficult to conclude, with certainty at least, that reference to the art world solves our Is it art? question.

Another approach to the Is it art? question is through the application of Morris Weitz’s view of the open-textured nature of the concept art.[18] Weitz contends that the very use of the term art and the history of its use demands that the concept remain open. Art cannot have necessary and sufficient conditions for its correct use, but finds its ostensive definition only through a complicated network of overlapping similarities or family resemblances. Weitz contends that the concept of art must be flexible to accommodate new creative efforts in the shifting art world. But Weitz also argues that historical definitions of art (such as formalism and expressionism) have considerable value in that they represent persuasively argued-for recommendations about criteria for excellence in art that can be used to point out the richness of qualities in works of art. Also, historical definitions have helped to identify indisputable examples of works of art, or paradigms–that is, works of art about which there can be no question of their being works of art.[19] Paradigms exhibit properties of excellence and strands of similarities that comprise sets of nonnecessary and nonsufficient conditions that help us decide whether new objects in the art world are reasonably called art (by virtue of similarities between new works and paradigms). Weitz concludes that any new object must possess at least some of the properties of excellence or strands of similarities found in paradigms for it to be called art.

By this argument, then, deciding whether a particular object can be called art is a matter of judgment based on the similarities to paradigm works of art. But who is to make this judgment? And by what criteria is an object to be designated a paradigm? That Barrie has compared Mapplethorpe’s work to classical fine art traditions, and that the AAMD has pronounced the validity of that artist’s works, suggests that the controversial XYZ Portfolio is not only art, but may even have achieved paradigm status. But woe be it to the NEA chairperson who holds it up as a paradigm of art before Congress while swearing to uphold “general standards of decency” !

It appears, then, that any attempt to decide the Is it art? question is fraught with difficulties. Even if one could irrefutably argue that controversial art is indeed art, that in itself would provide thin armor for educators and others determined to defend the dignity, freedom, and exercise of the arts.

Is It Obscene? Offensive? Immoral?

Another, though equally difficult, means of settling the dilemma for educators would be to demonstrate that these controversial works are not obscene. “Obscenity” is a legal term. Obscenity laws are primarily adopted to prevent extreme social offensiveness and to suppress corrupt and morally subversive ideas and behaviors.[20] Current legal language commonly applied in obscenity cases is derived from the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case, Miller vs. California, which reaffirmed that “obscenity is not a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.”[21] The basic guidelines of obscenity set forth in this case are that a work must (a) appeal to prurient interest as judged by an average person applying contemporary community standards; (b) depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) when taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.[22]

By these tests, can selected works of Mapplethorpe, Serrano, and others be considered obscene? In American society, it is widely accepted that determination of whether materials are obscene or not is a matter for courts, with the ultimate decision resting with juries of citizens. Critics of the Helms amendment argued that Congress circumvented the primacy of the courts in questions of obscenity by making a federal agency, the NEA, the arbiter of obscenity decisions. By making a list of forbidden subject matter which might be considered obscene (e.g. “sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the exploitation of children, individuals engaged in sex acts”23), this legislation, critics argued, created fear in the artistic community based upon the imagined legal consequences of creating controversial art, even though the legislation, by circumventing the court system, did not have the strength of law.

Still, the mere fact that the Cincinnati case came to trial was evidence that the Mapplethorpe exhibit had been an affront to some segments of the community. But it was less clear whether the exhibit, taken as a whole, appealed to prurient interests. Even more contentious was the charge that it lacked artistic or political value. But the jury’s decision to acquit was more than a legal victory for the arts, it reinforced an important lesson: it is possible for persons to conclude that while certain controversial objects may not be obscene in a legal sense, those same objects can surely be offensive to individuals’ moral sensibilities or personal beliefs, even if those objects are judged to be bona fide works of art. This phenomenon raises a number of interesting questions and prompts a shift in our attention from obscenity to offensiveness.

First, what we are to make of persons who make such judgments; that is, that particular works are both art and offensive? One could easily indulge in ad hominem arguments, as have many in the arts advocacy world. These arguments can take many forms. For example, it has been said that Jesse Helms, Dana Rohrbacher, and their compatriots on the political right are merely “homophobic,” self-styled guardians of their own prudish brand of decency, and that their attacks on government funding of certain works are motivated out of a disguised fear and hatred, perhaps even disguised to themselves, of life styles they find strange and threatening. Evidence of this motivation is found, for some, in the fact that when his original ban on funding “obscene” art was diluted to exclude bans on art that “denigrates” a religion, race, ethnic background, age group or handicap, Helms referred to those deleted restrictions as mere “throwaways.”[24] Others view the efforts of the Helms camp as attempts to further the conservative social agenda that the Reagan administration never fully implemented; as merely a fund-raising ploy for conservative political candidates, who have found in the arts a new and easy target now that the Cold War has waned; or as an effort to censor the free expression of divergent viewpoints and ideas under the guise of a populist taxpayer revolt.

But while such arguments, in general, may have some explanatory value in a political or psychological sense and may offer a kind of solace to those on the defensive in a public debate, they rarely help in resolving disputes over difficult public issues. In the present case, speculating on the motives of certain politicians and interest groups deflects attention away from those individuals who are sincerely and genuinely offended by certain examples of contemporary art. How do we account for these individuals?

Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of the social class foundations of taste provides one account.[25] Based on numerous empirical studies, Bourdieu draws a distinction between pure taste and the popular aesthetic. Pure taste is rooted in the clear-cut separation of ordinary dispositions from the specifically aesthetic disposition, while the popular aesthetic is based on the affirmation of continuity between art and life and, in Bourdieu’s terms, constitutes a refusal to subordinate function to form. The popular aesthetic maintains that an art work is to be evaluated and justified in terms of its content and its capacity to serve a function, by reference to norms of morality and agreeableness. Bourdieu further observes that the popular or “working-class aesthetic” is a subordinate aesthetic that is constantly obliged to defend itself in terms of or against the dominant aesthetic; i.e., pure taste, which considers the popular aesthetic “barbarous.” Another, in some ways related, account of persons who find certain works of contemporary art offensive is offered by art educator Jean Rush.[26] Hers is a sort of “educational-deficit” theory. She suggests that such persons make these kinds of judgments because they are aesthetically uneducated, that they have not been initiated into understanding the disciplines of art and the values and criteria of excellence that the disciplines embody. As a result, they inappropriately apply moral and social criteria to the evaluation of art works when only aesthetic criteria should apply.

Bourdieu’s social-class explanation or Rush’s educational-deficit theory may be helpful in understanding why certain kinds of judgment are made, particularly with regard to controversial works of art. Of course, these explanations are themselves subject to debate. But, in any event, to conclude that persons make judgments for “inappropriate” reasons does not, in a democratic society, give anyone a right to dismiss those judgments as having no place in debates over public issues. Further, the possibility must be allowed that these persons may have a defensible point.

For persons who consider controversial works both genuinely offensive and art and who call for greater discretion and decency in matters of public funding, a persuasive argument may be encapsulated in this way: that in certain contexts where values are in conflict, moral values should take precedence. This does not commit them to a position of Absolute Moralism, whereby moral considerations supersede other values in all cases, only that moral values are paramount in certain contexts. This point of view raises an important philosophical question: do moral values supersede other areas of value, including the aesthetic, and if so, under what conditions?

It is important to grant, at the outset, that areas of human value often conflict. Political values can conflict with religious values, moral with political, economic with environmental, and so on. It is also necessary to point out that within specific contexts, certain areas of value can supersede others. For example, in the interests of maintaining a pluralist democracy, the Continental Congress instituted the separation of church and state. While by no means seeking to curtail religious values, they made the judgment that in matters of government, political values were to supersede religious values. It is also possible to cite examples of situations where moral values supersede other values. For example, many universities have made the judgment, despite difficult economic consequences, that it is wrong to hold stock in companies that do business with South Africa. History is replete with examples of persons, acting on a moral imperative, who have gone to jail or suffered other consequences rather than obey what they viewed as an unjust law of the state.

These examples demonstrate that certain areas of value are given priority over other areas of value in certain contexts as a result of conscious decision making. It is not unreasonable to assume that some might say that moral values do and should supersede aesthetic values in certain circumstances. Of course, the question might be dismissed by those holding an extreme modernist view, aestheticism. Aestheticism, the “art for art’s sake” view, insists that art is autonomous, self-sufficient, and disconnected from worldly concerns, including morals. While the arts, in this view, may express a range of values, the ultimate value is the aesthetic, which transcends other values in matters of artistic and aesthetic judgment. In contrast, one might claim that matters of judgment are context specific, that no one value necessarily dominates in every case.

Hilton Kramer states that “everybody knows–certainly every intelligent parent knows–that certain forms of popular culture have a devastating effect on the moral sensibilities of the young…. It is not less true that certain forms of high culture are capable of having something other than a socially desirable impact on the sensibilities of young and old alike.”[27] This quote echoes Plato, who warned of art’s power to “corrupt” the young. This persistent sentiment finds contemporary expression in the movement to place warning labels on pop music records as a means of protecting young people from exposure to pernicious influences. If it can be shown that exposure to certain examples of controversial contemporary art “corrupts” the young, then perhaps this is a case where the aesthetic is superseded by moral considerations. But this claim may be hard to sustain. The phrase corrupting moral sensibilities could mean that exposure to controversial art leads young people to make wrong moral choices about certain kinds of behavior. This assumes that the behavior depicted in certain art works is morally wrong, and that mere exposure to art works is sufficient to prompt persons to engage, or at least want to engage, in the behavior depicted-behavior either involving oneself or toward others. This is a dubious claim, however, on several counts. Obviously, we all witness behavior that we choose not to imitate. Even if the case could be made that young people are highly susceptible to suggestion, it is hard to imagine that exposure to art works, by itself, would exert a greater influence on young people than do their parents, peers, or popular culture. It still could be argued, however, that exposure to controversial art works could “confuse” young people about criteria for making choices about morality. Art, after all, carries the imprimatur of high culture and civilization; what better place to look for role models and lessons about life? It is far from easy to determine the overall impact of the arts and probably impossible to reach a consensus. Contrast these statements, the first by John Brademas, speaking in defense of the NEA, the second by Robert Knight, a critic of the NEA:

All of us, you and I, must remind people of the close connection between support for the arts and the greater public interests that are served. For you and I know the immense difference that the arts and artists make to enriching our lives as individual persons and to building a culture that illumines and ennobles.[28]

Polls show that few Americans want censorship, but few also want tax money funding attacks on their most deeply held values…. They resent NEA spending millions on art that the vast majority of Americans find neither uplifting, ennobling, beautiful, nor meaningful.[29]

It seems that conditions are not such that one can say with absolute certainty whether moral values should or should not supersede aesthetic values. For educators trying to defend education about controversial contemporary art, the argument that aesthetic value is supreme is not ironclad, although there is substance to the claims that (a) no art work should be judged solely from the standpoint of one value, be it aesthetic, moral, or some other value, and (b) it cannot be assumed that exposure to art works is, in itself, capable of either corrupting or correcting behaviors. Another aspect of the relationship of art and morals may add further strength to a rationale for the inclusion of controversial art in curricula: the bond between art, morals, and the imagination.

Although recently it has appeared that art and morality are inextricably linked in politics, the more fundamental meeting ground of art and morality is in the human imagination. All human beings are, to some degree, captives of their own egocentricity. But human beings are also socially oriented, and thus subject to group biases of class, creed, sex, race, and nationality. But imagination affords persons the opportunity of going beyond their own egocentricity, socialization, culture, place, and time. While imagination may be a capacity in all human beings, it can remain undeveloped or underdeveloped. The concepts and abstractions of science and philosophy are good guides for developing human imagination, but they alone cannot convey the vivid qualities of the range of human experience. Art, and the experience of art, has this capacity. Morality, for its part, requires a capacity to put ourselves in the place of others, to see the world and its predicaments from the point of view of the other. Without this capacity, persons are viewed as categories and morality becomes a matter of the application of rules in an impersonal way. Art has the capacity to develop the imagination without which morality may become narrow and devoid of passion. In the words of Melvin Rader and Bertrum Jessup, art “is the great cultural means of arousing our sympathies and removing our moral blind spots. It can help immensely to create that community of feeling without which there can be no deep and vital morality.”[30]

By exploring the breadth and depth of humanity, the arts offer significant opportunities for developing the imaginative basis of morality. As Hugh Southern wrote:

The images made by such artists as Serrano and Mapplethorpe are powerful, sometimes upsetting. They report on the dark corners of imaging: they convey terror, anguish and rage, unspeakable views of the human condition…. In an intellectually boisterous society such as ours, whose freedoms of inquiry and expression are the envy of the world, the ideas and images promulgated by these and other “controversial” artists cannot be filtered out as the price for their support by government.[31]

Art World Attitudes and Artistic Freedom

The morality/imagination rationale for teaching about controversial contemporary art, however persuasive it may be, only goes so far. It may lead to the conclusion that whatever is created in and defended and legitimized by members of the art world is defensible as subject matter for public education. It is not our intention to absolve the art world of its share of responsibility for strained relations with other social institutions and segments of society. People in the art world often champion the new, the challenging, the confrontational and controversial in art over art works that are generally more appealing to a wider audience. But tolerance–if not favoritism–for controversial work can seem unbridled to art world observers. As Hilton Kramer warned,

If the arts community is not prepared to correct the outrages committed in its name, there will be no shortage of other elements in our society ready and eager to impose drastic remedies.[32]

Not all regulation and threats of regulation come from outside the world of art. The art world has been in large measure responsible for its own ability to exercise artistic freedom. As aesthetician David Novitz explained:

There are, for example, schools of fine art, art critics, gallery directors, philosophers of art, artists and their audiences, all of whom try, in one way or another, both to advance certain views of art while challenging and even proscribing others. They do this not just because they sincerely subscribe to certain artistic values, but also because, as officers of the art world, they have an interest in perpetuating some views of art and undermining others.[33]

Artistic freedom may be taken as the right of artists to choose without coercion the media, methods, form, and content of expression they prefer, provided that the artists or art works do not infringe upon others’ rights of choice and expression. This concept extends to the exhibition and performance of works of art and to attendance at exhibitions and performances.[34] In order to protect its own ability to exercise artistic freedom, the art world would do well to undertake a more active program to build trust in the relationship between art and other segments of society.

Education and Controversial Art

One way to engender this trust is through vigorous and widespread arts education. But it cannot be an arts education blind to controversies within and facing the art world; arts educators should acknowledge that there is trouble in paradise and confront the issues responsibly. Attempting to define the mission of art education, Stephen Mark Dobbs wrote that it is “to convey the purpose and meaning and utility and pleasure of art and its quintessential role in the lives of individuals and societies.”[35] The role of art in contemporary life is neither obvious nor simple; it is complex, and rife with issues. Responsibly teaching about art today involves helping students to understand the nature of art in its totality and preparing them to confront issues in art beyond the schoolyard and in the future.

This does not mean that educators must introduce into classrooms every controversial art work or event they can lay their hands on, but it does mean making choices–based upon knowledge of developmental aptitudes and sensitivity toward community standards and teaching contexts–that occasionally challenge students’ notions about art. It also means equipping students with critical thinking capacities that will enable them to analyze, interpret, and judge art works and issues for themselves. And it means providing forums for the exchange of contrasting ideas and opinions. Students and teachers should be free to criticize as well as to praise art in an environment that promotes thoughtful and reflective dialogue.

In summary, there are at least three bases that may be incorporated into a rationale that supports the inclusion of controversial art in education: (1) such works, as art, are legitimate extensions of established art world theory and history; (2) such works provide opportunities for extending the depth and range of the imaginative basis of morality in human life; and (3) issues stemming from such works should be critically examined, and education provides an appropriate context for examination. While no one of these components may, in itself, be sufficiently powerful to compel educators to embrace controversial art in their programs, when taken collectively they can help to justify such educational decisions.

Notes

  1. For a more complete list of allegedly controversial art works whose creation or exhibition were funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, see the appendix to Robert H. Knight, “The National Endowment for the Arts: Misusing Taxpayers’ Money,” The Journal of Arts Management and Law 21, no. I (Spring 1991): 49-54. In the same issue, Hugh Southern offers a rebuttal to Knight’s charges.
  • For this legislation in its complete form, see U.S. Congress, Reauthorization of Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1990, 101st Cong. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990).
  • Mark Siebert and Lew Moores, “Lewd, But Art, Jurors Say,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, 7 October, 1990, A1-A2.
  • John Brademas, “Arts and Public Policy,” The Journal of Arts Management and Law 21, no. 1 (Spring 1991): 91.
  • See, for example, American Arts Alliance, Artistic Freedom: Our American Heritage (Washington, D.C.: American Arts Alliance, 1990).
  • Jerome Stolnitz, “The Aesthetic Attitude,” in Introductory Readings in Aesthetics, ed. John Hospers (New York: The Free Press, 1969), 17-27.
  • Marcia Muelder Eaton, Aesthetics and the Good Life (Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1989).
  • Ellen Goodman, “Elitist Art World Brought ‘Smut’ Trial on Itself,” The Columbus Dispatch, 7 October 1990, 3D.
  • See Dennis Barrie, “Pandering: That’s Nonsense,” New York Times, 18 April 1990.
  • Hilton Kramer, “Is Art above the Laws of Human Decency?” New York Times, 2 July 1989, section 2, 3.
  • Monroe C. Beardsley, “Redefining Art,” in The Aesthetic Point of View, ed. Monroe C. Beardsley (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1982), 313.
  • Arthur Danto, “The Artworld,” in Philosophy Looks at the Arts, ed. Joseph Margolis (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978), 132-44.
  • W. K. Wimsatt, Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy,” in Philosophy Looks at the Arts, ed. Margolis, note 12 above.
  • “Going to Bat for Barrie,” Art in America (June 1990), 47, 207.
  • George Dickie, Art and the Aesthetic: An Institutional Analysis (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1974).
  • Kramer, note 10 above, section 2, 4.
  • For documentation of this trend, see Richard A. Peterson, “From Impresario to Arts Administrator: Formal Accountability in Cultural Organizations,” in Nonprofit Enterprise in the Arts: Studies in Mission and Conflict, ed. Paul DiMaggio (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); and Judith H. Balfe, “The Baby-Boom Generation: Lost Patrons, Lost Audience?” in The Cost of Culture: Patterns and Prospects of Private Arts Patronage, ed. Margaret Jane Wyszomirski and Pat Clubb (New York: American Council for the Arts, 1989).
  • Morris Weitz, The Opening Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977).
  • Morris Weitz, “The Role of Theory in Aesthetics,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 15 (September 1956): 27-35. See also Morris Weitz, “The Nature of Art,” in Readings in Art Education, ed. Elliot W. Eisner and David W. Ecker (Lexington, Mass.: Xerox Publishing Company, 1966), 49-56.
  • James C. N. Paul and Murray L. Schwartz, Federal Censorship (New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1961).
  • The Independent Commission, A Report to Congress on the National Endowment for the Arts (Washington, D.C.: The Independent Commission, 1990), reprinted in The Journal of Arts Management and Law 20, no. 3 (Fall 1990): 64.
  • Legal Task Force Consensus Statement, in The Independent Commission, note 21 above, 66.
  • Text of the Helms amendment as quoted by Jonathan Yardley, “Jesse Helms and the Art of Pragmatism,” Sunday News Journal, Wilmington, Delaware, 6 August 1989, K1.
  • See Elizabeth Kastor, “Obscenity Measure Approved,” Washington Post, 30 September 1989.
  • Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984).
  • Jean C. Rush, “Patriotism, Piety, Pornography, Politics, and Pedagogy: Tongues of Flame in the Debate over Federal Arts Funding” (Paper presented at the 1990 NAEA Convention, Kansas City, Mo., April 1990).
  • Kramer, note 10 above, 3.
  • John Brademas, note 4 above, 96.
  • Robert H. Knight, note 1 above, 41.
  • Melvin Rader and Bertram Jessup, Art and Human Values (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976), 229.
  • Hugh Southern, “The National Endowment for the Arts: Fostering America’s Artistic Enterprise,” The Journal of Arts Management and Law 21, no. 1 (Spring 1991): 63-64.
  • Kramer, note 10 above, 3.
  • David Novitz, “The Integrity of Aesthetics,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48, no. 1 (Winter 1990): 18.
  • This definition is taken from E. Louis Lankford, “Artistic Freedom: An Art World Paradox,” The Journal of Aesthetic Education 24, no. 3 (Fall 1990): 23.
  • Stephen Mark Dobbs, “Art in the Mainstream is Our Lifestream,” Art Education 35, no. 5 (September 1982): 4.

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