lundi 26 septembre 2011

Art & Censorship: A Never-Ending Story...

The Swedish photography museum, Fotografiska, claims to have been forced to censor its own images on Facebook so as not to be deleted. 

The exhibition in question, which is showing some two hundred works by Robert Mapplethorp, deals with nudity and sexuality, something Facebook cannot seem to accept. That being said, one could say that joining this particular social-media network is asking for censorship: as a user, you agree to “not post content that is pornographic or contains nudity”.

As Fotografiska had been censored in the past, it beat Facebook to it by censoring itself! Although the method of censorship is somewhat tongue-in-cheek (as the covered areas on the images write “Facebook-friendly square”), the fact remains that Fotografiska silenced itself, visually and ideologically.

This raises many questions, such as:

Would it have been better for Fotografiska to stand its ground, not censor itself, thus “provoking” Facebook and potentially offend some users?

Is partial censorship worth mass mediation?

Isn't preventing the visibility of the human body an offense to the artist's voice?

Does censorship not take away people's right to be offended if they want to be?

Is censorship antidemocratic?

This is well worth debating. Art Monaco wants to hear your opinion. Feel free to write to us at and tell us what you think! You can also follow us on twitter, Youtube, and Facebook.

On a final note, here are a few inspiring quotes...

The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. 
~Henry Steele Commager

The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. 
~Tommy Smothers

Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself.  It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.  ~Potter Stewart

Obscenity is not a quality inherent in a book or picture, but is solely and exclusively a contribution of the reading mind, and hence cannot be defined in terms of the qualities of a book or picture.  ~Theodore Schroeder

Censorship in any form is the enemy of creativity, since it cuts off the life blood of creativity: ideas.”
~Allan Jenkins

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