Easy Reading: Laws and Censorship


The world as we know it has always been governed by rules. Postmodern artists see rules as something to be broken. New discoveries and ideas can never be made from following basic principles. Rules can affect the art world and we must be conscious of the boundaries we push.

The Image of Law is a treatise written to take the idea of the conceptual and suggests we evolve a particular style of thinking. We assume, in law, that a judiciary applies laws that have already been set. Theorist and philosopher Lefebvre tries to explain that the concept of judgement as largely involving a set of creative strategies. A case could involve many complex situations and may have many potential outcomes.

When the law is questioned, or broken by an artist, although they may receive consequences, they are not persecuted as much and are not subsequently sentenced fairly. Examples can be seen in the celebrity world where they receive punishment for doing wrong that would be the equivalent of fining the average person two pence. It appears that famous artists get away with a lot more in a jury based trial as they can afford better defence lawyers. In conclusion, arts can push boundaries as the punishments do not take into account these people’s earnings.

In attempting to challenge the laws around us, protests and political art can be very powerful. Advertising campaigns such as those that PETA and Guerrilla Girls have used, acquire shock tactics in order to be noticed. Although these tactics may work, they can often be for the wrong reasons. For every controversial decision, there is a backlash.

Being controversial can often be percieved as offensive and questions how far an artist can push are often raised. A child will often push boundaries set by parents, but only so far as they know there will be a punishment. Grotesque images often make a point and through influential manipulation can change the mind of an audience. Many parents agree that these types of campaigns are not suitable for all eyes.

Graphic images and bold art pieces need to be made for a specific audience and for persons with high levels of maturity. Artists such as Damien Hirst keep their artwork in a gallery so that not everyone is forced to witness it. Art based on mortality is definitely for more specialised audience. The purpose of these pieces would not be critical and not forced upon public, like in Banksy’s work.

There are of course both pros and cons to censorship. Children learn through experience. The question of why we shouldn’t show controversial items to our children still remains. Many still question if it would be robbing our children of their innocence if we did show them.

In conclusion, controversial art should be distributed wisely and not overly censored. During both World Wars the government created censorship laws so that soldiers’ letters home and the newspapers would not worry the general public. Propaganda causes paranoia.

We do not want to cause a negative uprising. We strive to change the world for the better. The viewing of this kind of artwork though should be up to the potential viewers discretion and should not be forced upon someone.