Friday, February 09, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ Censorship?

Why have mildly erotic nymphs been removed from a Manchester gallery? Is Picasso next?
Jonathan Jones

I'd ask the same question! This is a Pre-Raphaelite painting by J.M. Waterhouse, depicting a tale from Greek mythology. Hylas has fallen in love with the water nymphs. He is not about to rape or sexually harass them. Where's the objection to this -it surely cannot be bare breasts? Dang, some of the gowns worn to the Golden Globe Awards showed off almost as much - and more voluptuous versions. What about Venus de Milo and countless paintings of Venus naked or nearly so? Females as sexual objects? Yep, that happens, but not in this painting. Caa-ahhm on!

I've always loved Pre-Raphaelite art, and in 2005 on my last trip to England, visited the Manchester Art Gallery specifically to see their fine collection of paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. I looked upon this very painting then. How anyone could see it as being objectionable, I cannot imagine.

There are several archived posts touching on Pre-Raphaelite artists and their work, accessible from the Label cloud in the side bar by clicking on "Pre-Raphaelites" there.

Another, rather more understandable, censoring of a painting was under consideration on this side of the Atlantic, at the end of last year, at The Met in New York:
New Yorkers launched a petition demanding that the Metropolitan Museum of Art remove a 1938 painting of a young woman with her underwear exposed due to the “current climate around sexual assault” — but the Met refused.

The piece, “Thérèse Dreaming” by French artist Balthus, “sexualizes” the girl by depicting her lounging in a skirt with her knee up on a chair, according to the petition, which was posted on the website Care 2.

I'm not a fan of Balthus, but this is not one of his most objectionable works, at least to my eye - but then I'm a female, sight of knickers does not excite me. An archived post of mine covers Balthus here: Shock Art.

I hope that these attempts at art censorship will prove to have been isolated instances, rather than forerunners of a coming pattern. What would follow - could it be the burning of books? Unchecked, we'd then be heading for something akin to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.


R J Adams said...

It seems there are folk with nothing better to do than look for another 'bandwagon' to leap onto. Are their lives really that boring? I'd rather view either of those paintings than some of the trash one finds in the Tate Modern, or any one of dozens of 'contemporary art' galleries in the U.S..
American puritanism rides again - and a somewhat diluted version in the U.K., also.

Wisewebwoman said...

How elevated the thinking of those objectors. How subjective. I wish their energies were more directed to the porn industry and human (read girls)trafficking and the effects of this on curious young boys.



Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman & RJ Adams ~ Thank you both for thought on this - I do agree!