Pompeii, Goat and Satyr La Camera Segretta (the secret room), Naples Archeological Museum One of the first artifacts discovered during the excavations at Pompeii, it was placed in a secret room in the Naples Archeological Museum
Pompeii Tile Mosaic, Pan & Hamadryad La Camera Segretta (the secret room), Naples Archeological Museum
Pompeii Wall Mural of Mercury/Priapus La Camera Segretta (the secret room), Naples Archeological Museum Hermes (Mercury) is portrayed as a bearded god with enlarged phallus, winged sandals and caduceus wand.
Michelangelo, David (1504) Galleria dellAccademia, Florence Michelangelo depicts David before the battle with Goliath. For Michelangelos city-state of Florence, surrounded by enemies at the time, the statue was a political symbol of fortezza and ira, strength and anger.
Titian, Venus of Urbino (1538) Uffizi, Florence Mark Twain called the Venus of Urbino purely the Goddess of the Beastly (Bestial) … the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses.
Francisco de Goya, La Maja Desnuda ( ) Museo del Prado, Madrid In 1959, the U.S. Post Office banned the mailing of a reproduction of La Maja Desnuda that was being used to promote a movie about Goyas life.
Édouard Manet, Olympia (1863) Musée dOrsay, Paris Manet painted Olympia the same year as Déjeuner sur lHerbe, a picnic scene with a naked female and two fully clothed males. Déjeuner was rejected by the Paris Salon, the prestigious annual art exhibit, and Manet waited two years before submitting Olympia. Olympia was accepted for exhibition, but it caused a furor, and was bitterly attacked by critics.
Gustave Courbet, LOrigine du Monde (1866) Musée d'Orsay, Paris Sex objectification or protest against prudery? Commissioned by a Turkish diplomat, the painting was later found in Budapest after the financial failure of the collector, and was eventually acquired by the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. It came to the Musée dOrsay in Sex objectification or protest against prudery? Commissioned by a Turkish diplomat, the painting was later found in Budapest after the financial failure of the collector, and was eventually acquired by the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. It came to the Musée dOrsay in 1995.
Jasper Johns, Flag ( ) Museum of Modern Art, New York Johnss rendering of the American flag startled an art world that was still largely preoccupied with abstraction. … Alfred Barr of the Museum of Modern Art wanted to purchase the work but worried that it might be seen as unpatriotic by his board, so he arranged for someone else to buy it and later donate it to the museum. The Warhol: Lessons and Resources,
Kate Millett, The American Dream Goes to Pot (1970) Originally exhibited at Peoples Flag Show, Judson Memorial Church, New York, 1970 Organized in response to the arrest of an art dealer in 1966 for exhibiting anti-Vietnam War sculptures made from American flags, and the arrest of Abbie Hoffman in 1968 for wearing a shirt made from an American flag at a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee, the Peoples Flag Show included works by more than 200 artists, including Millett.
Dread Scott Tyler, What Is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag? Installation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1988; later included in the traveling exhibition, Old Glory: The American Flag in Contemporary Art. Viewers do not have to step on the flag in order to see the book and images on the wall, but it is the easiest way to do so. Within a week of the exhibitions opening at the School of the Art Institute, veterans organizations filed suit (unsuccessfully) to close down the show. Bomb threats and physical threats to students, faculty, staff continued. State funding for the School of The Art Institute was cut from $70,000 to $1.
David Nelson, Mirth and Girth (1988) This student painting depicting recently deceased Chicago Mayor Harold Washington was displayed in May 1988 as part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicagos student competition. Three city aldermen, outraged, went to the Art Institute, took the painting off the wall, and attempted to remove it from campus. They were stopped by a school official, and ultimately the police took custody of the painting. In the lawsuit that followed, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the aldermens action violated the First Amendment.
Judy Chicago, Primordial Goddess, from The Dinner Party ( ) (mixed media installation, Brooklyn Museum of Art) The Dinner Party is a massive triangular table with 39 place settings, each honoring an important woman from myth or history with designs based on vulvar and butterfly forms; another 999 womens names are inscribed in gold on the floor below the table. The work was constructed by a team of women, and for years had no permanent home. Some critics thought the work pedagogical and reductive, but it is an important icon of 1970s feminist art, according to the Brooklyn Museum, which eventually acquired it and in 2007 put it on permanent display.
Andres Serrano, Piss Christ (1987) (photograph) It was the title of this luminous photograph that caused an uproar in 1989 after it was discovered that a North Carolina museum had included it in an exhibition supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. (Serrano also received $15,000.) Senator Jesse Helms fulminated on the Senate floor: Serrano is a jerk, but let him be a jerk on his own time and with his own resources. Do not dishonor our Lord. I resent it and I think the vast majority of the American people do. Attacks on the NEA and threats to its existence continued for the next decade.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Joe (1978) (photograph from the X Portfolio)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait (1978) (photograph from the X Portfolio) The X Portfolio formed the basis for an obscenity prosecution against the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, which hosted The Perfect Moment, in The Center and its director, Dennis Barrie, were acquitted at trial.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait (1985) (photograph) Although not in the X Portfolio, this self-portrait is part of a series that documents Mapplethorpes evolving self-image as his unconventional life and career unfolded. He died of AIDS in 1989.
Karen Finley in Performance (1990) Finley was the most prominent of four performance artists who sued the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990 after sensational publicity and pressure from Congress led the NEA to veto their recommended fellowships. Finley became known as the chocolate-smeared woman because of a performance in which she smeared chocolate over her nude body to symbolize societys abuse of women. Although the four artists – Finley, Holly Hughes, Tim Miller, and John Fleck – received their grants after a federal trial court ruled in their favor, their lawsuit continued as a challenge to a federal law that required the NEA to consider general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public in awarding grants. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld the law.
Dayton Claudio, Sex, Laws, and Coathangers (1992) Claudio applied for and received a permit to exhibit a painting in the lobby of a federal building in Raleigh, North Carolina as part of the Public Buildings Cooperative Use program, which encourages art in public spaces. Once they saw the work, administrators revoked Claudios permit and forced him to remove the painting, saying that it was controversial, political, and likely to offend North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Claudio sued, but the U.S. district court ruled that despite the purposes of the Cooperative Use program (to encourage art in public buildings), the government could prohibit the display of such a gory and graphic painting.
Jerry Boyle, Holier Than Thou (2003) (sculpture) Each year, Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas sponsors an outdoor sculpture contest; once selected, the winning entries are displayed around campus for several months. One of the five winning entries in 2003 was Jerry Boyles Holier Than Thou, showing the upper body of a clergyman that critics claimed was grotesque. A professor and a student filed suit in federal court demanding the removal of the statue on the ground that it conveyed an impermissible state-sponsored message of disapproval of the Catholic religion. The Court of Appeals disagreed, concluding that, viewed in context with the other sculptures on campus, any reasonable observer... would understand the university had not endorsed that message.
Chris Ofili, Holy Virgin Mary (1996) Ofili uses dried elephant dung, a sacramental element in African rituals, in his artworks. New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani considered Holy Virgin Mary blasphemous and froze city funds to the Brooklyn Museum in 1999 after it refused his demands to remove the work. A federal court ruled that the mayors actions were unconstitutional.
Tom Forsythe, Malted Barbie (1999) (photograph from the Food Chain Barbie series) Forsythe was sued by Mattel, maker of the Barbie doll, for copyright and trademark infringement, after he created a series of satirical and socially critical images. Ultimately, he won the case, and Mattel was ordered to pay attorneys fees to Forsythes pro bono lawyers. The court ruled that Forsythes use of the Barbie doll constituted fair use under both copyright and trademark law: The benefits to the public in allowing such use – allowing artistic freedom and … criticism of a cultural icon – are great.
Tom Forsythe, Every Barbie For Herself (1997) (photograph from the Food Chain Barbie series) One of the images in the Food Chain Barbie series which was the subject of an unsuccessful copyright and trademark suit by Mattel. The court ruled that Forsythes artistic commentary on the Barbie doll was not copyright infringement but fair use.
Adbusters, Joe Chemo (1996) Joe Chemo was invented by psychology professor Scott Plous after his father nearly died from smoking. The image first appeared in Adbusters magazine in 1996.
Wally Wood, Disneyland Memorial Orgy (1967) Copyright infringement or fair use?
Kieron Dwyer, Consumer Whore (1999) Starbucks sued artist Kieron Dwyer for using this image on comic books, t-shirts, and stickers.
Ashley Holt, Notmickey (2002) Mickey says Dont sue, and Disney didnt.
Is it censorship? Only two pictures of blues singer Robert Johnson exist. In one of them a cigarette dangles from his lips. When, in 1994, the post office used that photo to create a stamp honoring him, they carefully removed the offensive cigarette. A few years later they did the same thing with a Jackson Pollock photo used for a stamp.