We have a guy in our town who is in serious trouble. Last year, he was arrested after he created the sculpture of a bare torso and placed it in the front yard of his home (he already had a life size sculpture of his buttocks). A neighbor called 911 to complain that the statue was obscene, and he was charged. Despite being charged with more than $300,000 in fines, he had refused to remove the statues because he says he is covered by the First Ammendment and the freedom of speech. He is now in jail awaiting sentence in November.(felony charge)
Since reading this story I started hunting for other “artists” that may have caused conflict and I came across the following. (This is more of a serious nature).
I would like to draw your attention to a controversial artist in NY named Clinton Boisvert.
Boisvert placed a bunch of Fed Express boxes in the Union Square subway station. The boxes were spray-painted black; each bore the single word “Fear.”
The police and bomb squad arrived; and the subway trains were stopped, leaving commuters worried, inconvenienced, and annoyed.
Apparently, the police feared that the boxes were part of an act of terrorism, and might contain weapons.
Boisvert was criminally charged for putting the boxes in the station. Should he have been? Can art that mimics, or comments on terrorism be a kind of criminal conduct?
Should the First Amendment have provided a defense for Boisvert’s actions? After all, his art event took place in a public place, and it involved both actual speech (the word “Fear”) and symbolic speech, in the form of the black boxes.
IMO this type of “art” is no different from someone yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. It is meant to cause fear and confusion, and give jollies to the perpetrator.
From a Christian perspective if you look up some of the writings of the Apostle Paul… We are to seek after things which are praise worthy and of good report… By what Paul talks about, classical paintings, books, etc…are indeed art… (IMO) The work of Boisvert is not nor the guy in my town for that matter.
Once he got out of that jam he decided on another piece of art which is more a commentary on terrorism, than a facsimile of it. Boisvert’s second work included a metal male figure with a penis covered with photos of 9/11 victims. He placed it in Union Square http://www.nypress.net/print.cfm?content_id=8385 Although he wasn’t charged for this piece of artwork he could have been.
I realize that not all statements can be made in a feel good eye pleasing way, and just because something doesn’t have pleasant eye appeal doesn’t mean that it isn’t without merit. But please this artwork stinks to high heaven!