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When people are offended by your controversial art...

Cruel_Sandwich
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joined:6/30/05
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This weekend, I had two people come up to me who were offended by two seperate art pieces that I did, both involving abuse. They claimed that I was making a joke out of something so serious and that I shouldn't be doing that. They were extremely offended and it puts me in an awkward position.

Yes, I did use humor when showing the abuse, but I didn't feel like I was going for a cheap joke.

I was trying to show how abuse degrades down people and screws them up for life.

Is it wrong for me to shy away from controversial topics? Or should I do that?
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nitsua
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re: When people are offended by your controversial art...

Take Botero. He's a man widely known for his stylish paintings and sculptures. The above painting is from his series on the Abu Ghraib.

As long as you know why you're doing it, you can't let the critics get in the way. Stay true to yourself and to your muse. You'll be a better artist for it.

(BTW, Botero hasn't received a penny for his work on Abu Ghraib.)
"Writing is like prostitution. First, you do it for love, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money." ~ Moliere
chris d
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never shy away. NEVVAAAAHH!!!
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trinaaron
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If your art is controversial it will offend someone. It's pretty much in the definition. Lots of art that is now considered standards were controversial back in their day (i.e. Manet's "Olympia" and the ballet images by Degas). You should take it as a compliment. Your art should be about whatever is in your heart, be it flowers or domestic abuse or belly button lint. If people are talking aout it you are probably on the right track.
"I always feel guilty patronizing Barnes & Noble because they've essentially put every small neighborhood bookstore out of business, but they have a cafe!" Seth Rudetsky "Broadway Nights" Go Jeff Burton #31
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jrb_actor
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You have to let people have whatever response they want. But you shouldn't edit yourself.
Cruel_Sandwich
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A friend of mine told me "My sister was abused while pregnant and I don't enjoy seeing that as a joke."

My response:

"I'm definitely sorry you felt that way but I wasn't really meaning for any of that to be humorous. I didn't really get to say this at brunch but what I was intending for that scene to do is more because it does hit people personally.

I put scenes like that into my films because they really kind of make viewers assess their viewing of the film in question. Some do laugh when they see him get out the blender. A lot of others cringe. Still others don't know what to think. Something like that really hits people on a gut level and makes the film more personal for them. And you don't have to go for an easy shock like having him bring out the blender at all in every (or any) film you make.

I am sorry that you felt that I was going for a cheap and easy laugh with that because that certainly wasn't my intention at all. I think a lot of really horrible violence in films nowadays is just kind of shrugged off with the whole "it's all a joke!" defense, you know? "Sure it's horribly violent and grotesque and disgusting but it's all for the sake of a joke!" That's not what I was intending with this movie at all. I was trying to capture the mindset of a man with no confidence in himself, no confidence in his ability to raise a child, no confidence in his ability to be a loving husband to the point where he fantasizes about murdering his wife and child in this horrible horrible fashion. I didn't completely succeed, I think, but I'm glad I tried to handle difficult subject matter in this fashion.

I'm glad we made amends and I'm sorry this film gave you such a bad feeling. "
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tazber
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all art is controversial to someone, somewhere.
And you know that.
So yes, we all get that you think you are edgy and fringe.
Shall we mention how cool that must make you?
....but the world goes 'round
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JoeKv99
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Steal a page from George Burns and reply to criticism with:

"I'm so sorry- perhaps you'd like to **** my sister, Trixie?"
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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Rathnait62
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Truly edgy artists don't care if they offend. It's ART.

And posting about it on a message board? So not edgy.
Have I ever shown you my Shattered Dreams box? It's in my Disappointment Closet. - Marge Simpson
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Elphaba
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I'm not even sure you had to apologize, Cruel.....

Nitsua.....that is only one small part of Botero's work. He is a God......at least we can agree on something
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story... AGATHA CHRISTIE, Life magazine, May 14, 1956
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Borstalboy
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Sounds like you are doing something right, Cruel.

Most good art offends someone....just don't be your own worst censor. There's far too much of that in most American arts.
"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. ~ Muhammad Ali
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Jane2
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"(BTW, Botero hasn't received a penny for his work on Abu Ghraib.)"

They are not for sale.

I have to go out now, but when I get home I'd like to start a thread about Botero's Abu Ghraib work. We discussed it briefly a while ago, but I'd like to hear more opinions.
<-----I'M TOTES ROLLING MY EYES
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nitsua
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"(BTW, Botero hasn't received a penny for his work on Abu Ghraib.)"

They are not for sale."

Hence why he hasn't made any money.

"I'd like to start a thread about Botero's Abu Ghraib work."

I'm game if you're game.
"Writing is like prostitution. First, you do it for love, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money." ~ Moliere
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Jane2
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"Hence why he hasn't made any money."

Let's not forget that many artists are commissioned to do their work for an institution or other venue. Hence they make money that way and not from sales!

I plan to start a thread in a little while. I just got in.
<-----I'M TOTES ROLLING MY EYES
broadwaytourist
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I echo the previous post -
When people are offended by your cotroversial art . . . you are doing your job! . . . you are really creating art! . . . you are reaching people! . . . you are talented! . . . you have something to say and say it effectively! . . . you make me jealous! . . . you have a future as an artist! . . . your art serves a purpose! you need never apologize as art means never having to say you're sorry! (credit - Love Story).

Never apologize for causing a reaction to your art. It is yours, and you should not apologize for the way you feel on such a strong issue.

Good luck!