In the perspective of the history of art,  artistic works have existed for almost as long as humankind: However, there are many other colloquial uses of the word, all with some relation to its etymology. Artistic works may serve practical functions, in addition to their decorative value. Over time, philosophers like PlatoAristotleSocrates and Kantamong others, questioned the meaning of art.
This is an excellent statement as it articulates a balancing of the social responsibilities that attend a right of expression. It is a freedom within boundaries.
Similarly, the right of collecting institutions to show confronting material is something that is changes with the role of the museum, the politics of the day, and the manner and place of the display.
Certainly, the restriction of creativity, of ideas, is not new. The experience of many centuries shows that censors and their motives are extraordinarily diverse.
One of the most obvious tools of control is the legal system itself. The law of obscenity, the law of defamation, classification regimes and anti-vilification provisions are not as dramatic as some earlier forms of restriction, but restrictions they most certainly are.
This section includes some comments on the compliance with and enforcement of these laws. It will then examine the interrelated statutory regimes that govern the classification, distribution and restriction of work that might be considered obscene, indecent or offensive, and the regulation of online services.
The second section examines the law of defamation. The laws of defamation provide our society with an expensive, highly complex, unsatisfactory apparatus by which some of its individuals can defend their reputation after others have exercised their freedom of speech.
It is a balancing mechanism. By it, we are restricted in our commentary on others and indeed, others are restricted in their commentary on us.
It is an area of enormous legal complexity and few lawyers are expert in its intricacies. This chapter discusses the components of defamation and its attendant defences of truth, fair comment and privilege. The final section briefly looks at the legislative restrictions imposed under anti-discrimination legislation.
While there are exemptions under the legislation for artistic works and it is likely that they will be interpreted so as to protect artistic expression, the parameters of those exemptions have yet to be conclusively determined.
From the Obscene to the Offensive It is the aesthetic which distinguishes the artistic from the pornographic, the moral which provides the societal gauge that transforms the erotic into the obscene, and the utilitarian which suggests that the members of a healthy society enjoy only pure thoughts and can have no proper use for obscene or indecent publications, images or text.
They restricted access to publications, works or exhibits that were seen to have no redeeming social value.
There has perhaps been a shift in more recent times that recognises, in a limited fashion, the subjective nature of judgment concerning what is obscene, indecent or offensive. The concern with nudity and sexually explicit materials has been replaced by a broader definition of offensiveness that includes depictions of drug use or violence alongside sexually explicit material.
The underlying policy reflected in our classification regime is one that seeks to protect members of a society from unwanted exposure to indecent or obscene materials, while at the same time recognising the rights of adults to see, hear and read what they want.
Role of public galleries Exhibiting institutions themselves play an important role in defining what is acceptable, for their acquisition policies are insidiously influential in determining what material the general public can see.
The formation of the Salon des Refuses and the fame that hindsight accorded many of its artists stands testimony to the powerful restrictive influence of the art establishment.
Similarly, while one may complain about the machineries of censorship legislation, the commercial galleries and art museums themselves perform considerable informal censorship. Their guidelines are generally informal and unavailable for public scrutiny.
Arguably there is a need for major institutions to stand up for freedom of expression by publicly defending the material they choose to exhibit if they come under attack. By providing for a reasoned and intelligent public discourse in such circumstances, they enhance the public appreciation, understanding or at least tolerance of ideas and expression.
Finally, in any consideration of the tools of control, one must acknowledge the role of the critic, the person who can promote the interests of certain creators and institutions and damage the reputations of others.
When considering the restrictive potential of obscenity law, the role of public galleries is an increasingly important one.Well, if there has ever been a work of art that was utterly and totally death-centric, it’s Damien Hirst’s artwork ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.’ The piece consists of a dead tiger shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde.
Pamela Abbott and Claire Wallace Pamela Abbott Director of the Centre for Equality and Diversity at Glasgow Caledonian University. Charles IV of Spain and His Family () Artwork description & Analysis: This portrait of the Spanish royal family was made at the height of Goya's career as a court painter.
Unlike many of his earlier society and court portraits, which hewed more closely to the genre's conventions of flattery, this painting signals a new direction for the artist in its .
Oct 16, · Damien Hirst’s shark, titled “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” from , will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum for three years.
The Physical Impossibility of Death In The Mind of Someone Living () Artist: Damien Hirst Artwork description & Analysis: Probably the most emblematic work of the movement (it's now often referred to in art circles as simply 'The Shark'), The Physical Impossibility of Death In The Mind of Someone Living consists of the body of a .
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