|BLASPHEMY : Art That Offends, S Brent Plate, 2006|
Blasphemy is not what an Artist might or might not intend in their work of art, but is a word given to a work of art by a given group in society due to a belief or censorship created through mainly religion or politics. This of course being an opinion, but based on factual statistics brought to our attention by this author is exploring the reasons why these powers have had an impression on the arts for many years before the contemporary world and during it.
Many Artists works have been banned, burned, and even dealt with by death due to their so called blasphemous works. Where is the line drawn between freedom of speech and freedom of expression? Well, laws date back about freedom through voice but not always about freedom to the open public view.
The author in this book belives that an Artist has the right to express themselve in any way that he/she feel the need to get their messages across, whether it be by speech or religious expression. I myself being raised in a Christian background believe that more Artists need to express their belief/disbelief of what they feel rather than what everyone else expects them to follow. Many of Plate's arguments are based upon religion, and touch upon some of the Artists that have been murdered from expressing either humor or even truth of some other cultures religious beliefs that have effecting power on people. Plate refers to a quote from art critic Michael Kimmelman from The New York Times about pointing out the power of images:
To many people, pictures will always, mysteriously, embody the things they depict. Among the issues to be hashed out in this affair, there's a lesson to be gleaned about art: Even a dumb cartoon may not be so dumb if it calls out to someone.Plate responded to this as:
Artists' intentions are one thing, formal evaluation of images another, and the reception of images - in spite of how 'dumb' they may be - still another. To understand the place and function of blasphemy, it is necessary to take stock of the power of images, and the ways they 'call out' to people.Many times throughout the book the comparison between the words sacred and profane are brought up as distinguishing what is actually blasphemous work intended to be by the Artist or chosen to be by the audience. Something sacred has more emotional effect on a humans view of a piece of art and how it effects their actions to their beliefs. The dictionary provides us with this definition of blasphemy:
blas·phe·my /ˈblæsfəmi/ Show Spelled[blas-fuh-mee] Show IPAnoun, plural -mies.1.impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.I think Plate is trying to say blasphemy and related terms are subjective, and susceptible to manipulation by those seeking power.
2.Judaism. a.an act of cursing or reviling God.
b.pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) in the original, now forbidden manner instead of using a substitute pronunciationsuch as Adonai.
3.Theology. the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God.
4.irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred, priceless, etc.: He uttered blasphemies against life itself
|Alexander Kosolapov, This is My Body, Acrylic and Canvas, 2002|
|Oreet Ashery, Self Portrait as Marcus Fisher I, Digital Print on MDF, 2000|
|Sarah Lucas, Christ You Know It Ain't Easy, Marlboro Cigarettes and Mixed Media, 2003|
Some seemingly blasphemous images are ignored or overlooked by the masses, while religious and political authorities exploit other seemingly tame images. Oftentimes, those with the most authority, politically and/or religiously, win the battle. But not always.So, Artists express yourself, your values, and your blasphemy if you feel the need. Don't let the man get you down.
- Devin Glenn