Controversial Art and Censorship Submit Assignment
Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:
• Textbook: Chapter 14
• Lesson
• Minimum of 1 primary sources (artist statement)
• Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook – from critic)
Although social justice art is not a topic exclusive to the 20th and 21st centuries, the distribution of information regarding controversial art with gender, race, sexual, and/or environmental themes has increased with the proliferation of media. Choose an example of a social justice work of art from the 20th or 21st centuries from any discipline of the humanities (music, literature, sculpture, film, television, etc.). Then, address the following:
• Identify the work and the medium.
• Based on your example, to what extent does this work of art make a social contribution?
• What aesthetic value does the work have? How does it reflect the human condition? How does it relate to your life?
• Has this work ever been censored? If so, explain the circumstances.
• Are governments ever justified in censoring art? Why or why not?
• Examine some of the influences of this work of art. What was the public reaction to this work? Does it effectively portray its message?
• Argue whether or not this work should be considered art. Explain why using terms learned in this course.
• Include an accompanying statement from the artist(s) and a statement from a critic to support your points.
Writing Requirements (APA format)
• Length: 1.5-2 pages (not including title page or references page)
• 1-inch margins
• Double spaced
• 12-point Times New Roman font
• Title page
• References page (minimum of 1 scholarly source and 1 primary source)

Week 7 Assignment: Controversial Art and Censorship Submit Assignment

In the last decade, numerous pieces of art have been considered to be controversial and have to be removed from our society in one way or another. Controversial art could be a representation of criticism of a society norm. Songs, books and other pieces of art have been taken away due to offensive material. According to ICON, throughout art history, artists have been pushing the boundaries in the form of paintings, photography, sculptures and installations. From creating political statements, highlighting social issues to professing religious views, there have been a number of worldwide artists that have crossed the line into uncertain morality (Icon, n.d).
Controversial art has existed for many years in fact the piece of art that I chose for this assignment was controversial in the 1800’s, its name is The Nude Maja. This piece of art was painted by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya between the years 1797-1800. The Nude Maja is an oil canvas painting and it was the first in a two-painting series. This painting has a naked woman laying back on a pillow with her hands resting behind her head showing a slight smile. Goya painted the background dark which makes the woman stand out in this painting and adds a mysterious touch. The Art Encyclopedia shares that the identity of the model in the image is under debate, some art historians think the model was the mistress of the Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, who commissioned the painting or that it was Goya’s mistress (The Art Encyclopedia, 2020). The Nude Maja was displayed in the Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando from 1808- 1813. This painting caused a lot of controversy due to its immoral image and was removed for twenty three years by the Spanish Inquisition (Aaron Art Prints,n.d).
The Nude Maja has inspired other artists. Jeffrey Meyers shares in his book Impressionist Quarter The Intimate Genius of Manet and Morisot, Degas and Cassatt that Manet’s Olympia “boldly alluded to another masterpiece, Goya’s Naked Maja” (Meyers, 2016). Two sets of stamps, The Nude Maja and The Clothed Maja were displayed in commemoration of Goya’s work in 1930. I believe that The Nude Maja is considered a piece of art because it was painted by one of the most influential artists. According to Martin & Jacobus three criteria for determining whether something is a work of art are that :the object or event is made by an artist, the object or event is intended to be a work of art by its maker, and recognized experts agree that it is a work of art (Martin & Jacobus,pg 18,2018). The painting can be obscene for some, but it has all the components that a painting must possess. The details such as the color, the light, the perfect details of the expression make this painting a beautiful and delicate piece of art.
I believe that nowadays it is up to the person to decide if a piece of art such as paintings, books or tv shows is obscene or immoral, especially if they are paying to see it. There is a fine line between the government’s role and suppression. We live in a society where every person has the right and the freedom to decide what they want to see. Nonetheless, if there is a piece of art in public places that could be controversial due to offensive content such as nudity or violence, then in that case, I do believe that the government should step up and remove it especially in areas visited by children.
Aaron Art Prints. (n.d).
Art on Stamp. (n.d). The Clothed and The Naked Maja by Goya.
Meyers, J. (2016). Impressionist Quartet: The Intimate genius of Manet and Morisot, Degas and Cassatt. Southbank Publishing.
Icon. (n.d). 10 of the most controversial artworks in modern times.
Martin, F. D., & Jacobus, L. A. (2018). The humanities through the arts. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
The Art Encyclopedia. (2020, May 08). Nude Maja, 1800 – Francisco Goya.