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censorshipessay - Andrei Guth ENG-101 Mr Johnson The Limits...

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Andrei Guth ENG-101 Mr. Johnson The Limits of Freedom According to the Bill of Rights, which is a part of the U.S. Constitution, “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” Yet in 1999, the mayor of New York City verbally assaulted and threatened the Brooklyn Museum of Art due to its exhibit “Sensation.” The mayor believed the artwork displayed inside not only violated the viewer with it obscenity, but was intentionally offensive as well, and thus attempted to “withdraw the city’s financial support… evict it from its premises, and replace its governing board.” (Fisher, 30) Does this sort of interference on the behalf of a political official break the First Amendment? Some people say yes; others would say that the mayor’s protest was in defense of the American people as an audience, in which case it would not be. But, should the government have the ability to censor art? I don’t think it should. Art is considered a form of expression, which, loosely translated, means it is also protected by the Bill of Rights. Some painters and sculptors choose to portray graphic sex or grotesque objects in their artwork, such as the painting New York City’s mayor was most personally offended by, The Holy Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili, in which a black Virgin Mary is surrounded by cut-outs of buttocks and lumps of elephant dung. (Fisher, 30) Many Roman Catholics considered this piece sacrilegious, and thought that the government had every right to remove it from the public. However, producing work that may
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be offensive to some is the artist’s right. If the government can censor art work,
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