Law Abating Art

Censorship and art are no stranger to each other, even in the 'land of the free.' Battles over artistic freedoms have become foregrounded for many artists, writers, and other cultural types during the ongoing 'culture wars' of the last twenty years. Beginning with devastating attacks against public funding for the arts--in a backlash against the work of artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano--restrictions now often come in the form of cease and desist letters charging infringement of property rights. 'Potentially Harmful: The Art of American Censorhip,' a series of discussions, performances, and exhibitions at Georgia State University, is an exploration of the historical and current risk of censorship currently faced by artists in the US. The exhibition features works by artists who have pushed against political and moral norms, including media performance pioneers Lynda Benglis, Sue Coe, Dread Scott, and Karen Finley. 'Potentially Harmful' also delves into more recent instances of cultural regulation, like the ongoing Federal case involving Critical Art Ensemble. It's on view through the end of this week at GSU's Welch School of Art and Design Galleries, so hurry before it's censored by the law of time. Or just order their extensive catalogue... - Ryan Griffis