Art Is A Battlefield

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

The way in which we view art is turning out to be another means by which right and left divide. Both the highbrow among us who are searching for beauty and the lowbrow, such as your servant, who like pretty shiny things, are at odds with savants who tell us we are missing the point.

Unfortunately, these elites also bring to mind the observation of the late, great Redd Foxx as his alter ego Fred Sanford: “Beauty may only be skin deep but ugly goes straight to the bone.”  “For us as radical teachers, what is most important is less a work’s entitlement to the hallowed label of ‘art’ than its social uses,” Linda Dittmar and Joseph Entin write in the latest issue of Radical Teacher, “a socialist, feminist, and anti-racist journal on the theory and practice of teaching.”

Entin teaches English and American Studies at Brooklyn College. Dittmar recently retired from teaching literature and film studies at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

You may not want to see what they like. “Examples of art censored or suppressed abound,” they write. “A tacky sculpture of the Ten Commandments (tablets) or a crudely made statue of Jesus can be erected obtrusively in pulbic spaces while Andres Serrano’s visually mesmerizing and indeed reverent photograph, “Piss Christ” (1987) came under sever attack for bathing a plastic crucifix in the yellow glow of the body’s natural fluid.”  Indeed it did, although, as the old joke goes, not only has Serrano’s reverence never been questioned, it has never even been mentioned.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org

 

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