"None the Wiser" - Students’ Reactions to the history of the NEA, the Culture Wars and US Obscenity Laws
Amy is teaching "Arts, Culture and Society" at Drexel University this quarter. She's making the class read John Frohnmayer's, former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), memoir, "Leaving Town Alive: Confessions of an Arts Warrior." After each chapter, students are tasked to record their reactions to the political climate John is up against as the seemingly only person on the side of the arts in Washington, DC at the time (the 1990's).
A Reaction to Chapters 2 & 3:
"This controversial piece or art, Piss Christ, made so many people angry, and the government was even forced to talk about it when deciding on the budget. I think that’s what art is supposed to do — make people talk, cause a stir, send a message. Not everyone likes everything, which was easy to see with Serrano’s piece. It's unfortunate how art, religion, and politics get put into a mosh pit. In my opinion, they are separate entities and should remain as such.
This quote really stood out to me because America prides itself on freedom and democracy. “There are other nations around the world which have standards for acceptable and unacceptable artistic expression. We call them totalitarian…it is folly to argue that if federal funds are used for a project, that project must be acceptable to all taxpayers”