Freedom Of Expression - Our First Amendment Rights Are Threatened

Decent Essays

What is art? Can it be defined in any single painting, or sculpture? Is it even something that can be seen, or does it have to be experienced? The term "art" is so vague that it can be applied to almost anything, really. Mostly, however, art should be that which frees our imagination. It connects our conscious with our subconscious, putting into a visual form what we feel and think. It allows us to explore our inner self and fill that urge to understand our minds and our universe. Art helps us to see beyond the ordinary, to see what is in our hearts without being blinded by reality. When an artist creates a painting, it is not to create a picture; it is to create a feeling or mood. The purpose is to convey an emotion, and, it is …show more content…

At that time, Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, after having viewed the exhibit, threatened to withdraw city financial support to the museum.

The Mayor labeled the exhibit "sick" and "offensive to Catholics", and made no secret that his objections were based on his personal dislike of the contents of the show. He criticized the work of Chris Ofili, specifically a painting called The Holy Virgin Mary, because of its use of elephant dung. Ofili, a British artist of Nigerian descent, uses elephant dung in many of his works as a reference to his African roots. As an observant Catholic himself, he denies that his work is either anti-Catholic or anti-religious. He meant the dung to be a symbol of life and providence, however this simple explanation was not enough to satisfy Guilani. His threats to withdraw funding stood firm. Offili told the New York Times, "The people who are attacking this painting are attacking their own interpretation, not mine." Damien Hirst, whose display was also part of the show, said that the mayor "may as well say, 'I only like Picasso and if you don't show it then I'm going to cut your funding.' It's just pure censorship." He may be right, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art sued the city on September 28th, protesting the mayor's threat to freeze millions of dollars in funds.

To the relief of museum officials and art lovers across the country, the courts ruled on November 1st in favor of the Brooklyn Museum of Art and

Get Access