Today, I opened up my Facebook page to find a Seattle based art supply store asking if anyone wanted to share patriotic art in honor of the 4th of July, America’s Independence Day.
Little did I know that I would spend the next hour contemplating art censorship.
One artist had posted a nice color sketch of a ceremony at the Museum of Flight which includes all twenty American flags. I responded to the call by sharing “What Difference Does it Make?” a rather tongue-in-cheek mixed media piece which points to Hillary Clinton’s statement before Congress about the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in service to our country in 2012. After submitting my post and link to my art blog, the entire query was taken down——and then reposted without the previous replies. Hitler’s Degenerate Art Exhibit slipped into my thoughts.
While pondering whether to repost my piece, I came across a statement by Arteducators.org which summarizes how most artists approach the narratives of their craft:
“Free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. Now, as always in our history, artworks—literature, theatre, painting, sculpture, music, and dance, are among our most effective instruments of freedom. They are powerful means for making available ideas, feelings, social growth, the envisioning of new possibilities for humankind, solutions to problems, and the improvement of human life.
On the other hand, suppression of ideas and of artistic expression leads to conformity, the limiting of diversity of expression to a narrow range of “acceptable” forms, and the stifling of freedom.
As art educators in a free society, we confirm the following:
—Freedom of expression in the arts must be preserved.
—The individual has the right to accept or reject any work of art for himself or herself personally, but does not have the right to suppress those works of art to which he or she may object or those artists with whom he or she does not agree. The free individual and the free society do not need a censor to tell what should be acceptable or unacceptable, and should not tolerate such censorship. All censorship is contrary to democratic principles.”
The entire statement is available at https://www.arteducators.org/about-us/Censorship_and_the_Arts.pdf
I agree that our democratic principles should not tolerate suppression, which may totally ignore one’s right to manage the content of their own Facebook page, however, the invitation to post and its summary censorship by suppression is certainly NOT patriotic! Moreover, it is ironic that a company established to sell supplies to artists would, simultaneously work to stifle their creativity.