Arts and Culture

Marquis de Sade play takes a beating at the Abyss Theatre

Marquis de Sade play takes a beating at the Abyss Theatre

Artistic censorship, despite the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech, has long been part of the ideological tug of war in the United States. Performance artists Karen Finley, Tim Miller, John Fleck and Holly Hughes — also known as the “NEA Four” — faced down that truth in 1990 when National Endowment for the Arts chairman John Frohnmayer vetoed their recommended grants after a roiling backlash against allegedly offensive art. The four filed suit and won, receiving the money from their withheld grants, but the debate over “decency” and government funding for the arts continues to be incendiary.

So consider this: What if the artist in question had been the infamous...

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