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As the art market in recent years is growing, we would expect that most obstacles that artists used to face in the past, are now disappearing. More opportunities arise and especially after two tough year of exclusion due to the Covid pandemic, artists around the world have made a decent come back. Many institution, including museums, NGOs and private galleries, have invested more in enriching new forms of art and supporting upcoming artists than the years before. This is what statistics say anyway. It would be correct to presume that artists are more supported and more free in our days, than ever before. So, why do we still talk about censorship in Art in 2024? Moreover, is Art censorship on the rise too? Here are three examples that unfortunately prove this to be true.

Florida and Michelangelo’s David (2023)

This first case involves one of the most famous statues of all time. The Tallahassee Classical School is a public school, devoted to the liberal arts education. During a lesson, one of the teachers showed the students pictures of Michelangelo’s David. The pictures depicted the naked body of the statue. Unexpectedly, many of the parents complained that they should had been warned about it. As it seems, they had a problem that the teacher showed their children what they claimed, “nude pictures”. The fact that the pictures depicted a statue, didn’t seem to be accepted as an argument. As a result, Hope Carrasquilla, who was the principal at the time of the incident, resigned after threats that she will be fired. Although many people supported Carrasquilla, including the museum in Italy where David is housed, the outcome didn’t change.
After complains, the Florida department of Education, came up with a statement, regarding the incident. Among other things, they stated that, “The Statue of David has artistic and historical value. Florida encourages instruction on the classics and classical art, and would not prohibit its use in instruction.”.

Prophet Muhammad and Hamline University (2022)

Paintings, cartoons and depictions of the prophet Muhammad, have caused problems many times in the past. Most people remember the Charlie Hebdo case which sparked a chain of events in France. In 2022, Hamline University in Minnesota was subjected to a similar attack, after professor Erika López Prater showed her students some artistic depictions of the prophet to her students. Although she did that for the purpose of education, specifically as an example of Islamic Art, some students found it offensive. As a result, they complained to the administration of the school. The school didn’t renew Prater’s contract after the complains and she lost her job. She later sued the university.

Graffiti and sidewalk chalk in Seattle (2023)

In 2023 protests broke out after the killing of George Floyd by the police. Many groups supported the “Black Lives Matter” slogan. This of course included artists. During protests in Seattle, some people wrote messages with chalk outside police stations. That resulted in more trouble as police arrested many young people who were involved. Following the arrests, Seattle wanted to pass an anti-graffiti law.
That didn’t come to happen however, as US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman stopped the state from enforcing the ban. The judge said that the ban on graffiti, violated the first amendment, therefore could be put in force. During the lawsuit the plaintiffs showed images of police officers themselves writing messages with sidewalk chalk at pro-police community events.

Seattle sidewalks graffiti-2023

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