"Loose Lips Sink Ships"  by Peter Langenbach:
Controversial artworks have been produced by artists throughout history that really test the standards of decency in our society.  Some parts of society lay scorn and criticism on these works, unable or unwilling to appreciate the artist's vision. It's great that in our free society, artists can create any type work that their talent, means and imagination can come up with, whether it offends certain people or not.

The following works of art caused quite a bit of controversy when they were released not only for the artwork itself, but also because many of the artists were publicly funded with taxpayer dollars.  So the question is, should "art" such as the following be publicly funded? And if so, should the artist have the same freedoms he/she enjoys without financial help from the public?

Examine the artwork and decide for yourself....
Controversial Works Of Art
Piss Christ is a controversial photograph by U.S. artist Andres Serrano. It shows a small plastic crucifix supporting the body of Jesus Christ submerged in a glass of the artist's urine. Rumour has it that the glass may also contain the artist's blood. The piece was a winner of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art's "Awards in the Visual Arts" competition.

The piece caused a scandal when it was exhibited in 1989, with detractors accusing Serrano of blasphemy and others raising this as a major issue of artistic freedom. On the floor of the United States Senate, Senators Al D'Amato and Jesse Helms expressed outrage that the piece was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, since it is a federal taxpayer-financed institution.

However, art critic and Catholic Nun Sister Wendy Beckett actually approved of  "Piss Christ".

Piss Christ is often used as a test-case for the idea of freedom of speech, and was described in the journal Arts & Opinion as "a clash between the interests of artists in freedom of expression on the one hand, and the hurt such artworks may cause to a section of the community on the other."
In 2001, at the California State Fair in Sacremento, officials determined that a work, which had actually won the prize for  “best sculpture,” was unfit for exhibition and banned!  Peter Langenbach’s satirical sculpture depicts former President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in a bathtub. One fair official remarked that the work was “offensive to some people and inappropriate for children.”  According to Langenbach,  "My art is about humor. I use the visual pun to take cheap shots at the folly, foibles and pretensions of the human condition. It suits my light-hearted nature that a laugh, a chuckle, a wry smile or even a raised eyebrow from the viewer becomes my personal satisfaction."

Luckily, a local gallery owner named Gregory Barton contacted Peter, and offered him space in his gallery. The Barton Art Gallery in Sacremento showcases Peter's art to this day.
“Yo Mama’s Last Supper” is a 15-foot-tall photograph of a nude African-American woman portraying Jesus, surrounded by 12 black men portraying the disciples. Mayor Giuliani was deeply offended by this work of art as well. He was quoted as saying "If you want to desecrate religion in a disgusting way, if you want to promote racism, if you want to promote anti-Semitism, if you want to promote anti-Catholicism, if you want to
Chris Ofili's "Holy Virgin Mary":
In 1999, the city-funded Brooklyn Museum of Art came under fire when it exhibited a Chris Ofili painting of the Virgin Mary that featured sexually explicit cutouts covered with elephant dung. The Catholic Church, as well as New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, were outraged. Giuliani denounced the exhibit as morally offensive and threatened to cut off funding to the museum and terminate its lease if it did not cancel the exhibit that included Ofili’s painting. The city followed through and withheld the museum’s rent payment for October and filed a state lawsuit to get the lease revoked.

As a countermeasure, the museum filed a suit in federal court against the city claiming violations of the first ammendment, and seeking a permanent injunction against the city to keep it from withholding funds. U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon, sided with the museum, and granted them a preliminary injunction. The city was also ordered to resume the museum's funding, and to stop any eviction proceedings.
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"Piss Christ" by Andres Serrano:
controversial art:
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controversial art:
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controversial art:
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Renée Cox's "Yo Mama's Last Supper":
controversial art:
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promote anti-Islamism, then do it on your own money. Do not use the taxpayers' money to do that."

Giuliani appointed a "decency commission" of twenty members, to review the works' moral content, hoping the commission would deem the art as offensive to certain religions.  If they did, the city could withdraw funding.  The committee had a few meetings, but was abolished by new mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002, and failed to do anything noteworthy.
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