Week 9 Module 10 Discussion Forum After thinking about this week’s readings concerning the “Cultural Wars,” and reflecting upon the questions posed in the
Week 9 Module 10 Discussion Forum After thinking about this week’s readings concerning the “Cultural Wars,” and reflecting upon the questions posed in the reading/discussion guide, please generate a healthy discussion around the arguments, issues and (possibly) your own proposals for how the NEA might fund culture in the United States, if it should at all. I would like this to be an open discussion, so I’m offering very little in the way of direction. You could simply summarize the main positions taken, and give a rationale for your own preferences. Or, you could focus in more narrowly on a point, and thoroughly flesh it out. AH 270: Art/Identity/Politics
Week 9 Module 10: Case Study: The Culture Wars
Reading and discussion guide
NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)
John Frohmayer, Pat Buchanan, Rev. Donald Wildmon (AFA), Jesse Helms
Andres Serrano (1950- ): Piss Christ (1987)
Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing (Nan Goldin, curator, David Wojnarowicz “Post Cards
from America: X-Rays from Hell,” included in the exhibition catalogue)
The Perfect Moment (1989, Corcocran Art Gallery, Christina Orr-Cahall curator), then
(1990, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Dennis Barrie director)
Tongues of Flame (1990, Illinois State University)
Readings from R. Bolton, The Culture Wars
1. Big question: What, in general, unites liberal arguments? Conservative arguments? How do you feel about these stances? Can you strengthen or critique them more fully?
2. Why do you think homosexuality is such an oppositional rallying cry for conservatives? What is it about non-hetero sexualities that threatens many?
3. What are the problems with leaving the patronage of culture to the marketplace?
4. On p15+ Bolton launches into a long discussion of “non-participatory democracy” and the issue of the political manipulation of the “communication environment.” What seems to be his point? What solutions can you imagine? Later, he has a particular view of the government’s role vis-à-vis free speech; do you agree with him?
5. Why does Bolton find Karen Finley’s art problematic?
6. What do you make of Sarah Schulman’s hesitance towards NEA funding of lesbian artists?
7. Do you find parts of Slade Gorton’s argument compelling, if any?
8. What’s Lippard’s strategy for defending Andreas Serrano? Does she convince you?
9. What’s Arthur Danto’s argument? Why does he make a distinction between an individual and a “taxpayer”?
10. Considering the crucial importance of “representation” that we’ve been investigating throughout the quarter, w hat should the government’s role be concerning supporting culture, in your opinion?
The optional newspaper articles concern the failed criminal prosecution of the CAC and director Dennis Barrie on obscenity charges for exhibiting The Perfect Moment in 1990.