Chapter Four

Art and Morality

Moralisers against art

In the late 1980s Senator Alfonse D'Amato stood up in the US Congress and ripped up a reproduction of Andres Serrano's Piss Christ (1987). This sparked a long-running feud over the awarding of grants for artistic projects considered by many to be obscene. In the UK in 1998 police from the West Midlands raided the home of a Birmingham fine art student, confiscated photographs of pictures by Robert Mapplethorpe and confiscated the book itself from the University of Central England's student library. Both the institution and the student were threatened with possible prosecution on the grounds of obscenity, though no prosecution was forthcoming. In 1997 the Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy, subsequently transferred in 1999 to the Brooklyn Museum, caused a great furore. A large-scale portrait by Marcus Harvey of Myra Hindley (1995), sentenced to life in the 1960s for murdering children, was considered so offensive that it was


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Revealing Art


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