THE CONTROVERSY ARCHIVE
Here are the present results of a work in progress, the beginning of an archive of arguments against art (as well as arguments FOR art), mostly taken from print media.
photo: Bill Eakin
Click on the artists' names in the table below for a selection of comments made by detractors and supporters, followed by information on the controversy.
If you have any comments, questions, quotes, references or art controversies to add to the list, please fill out the form or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All contributions are appreciated.
Les soumissions en français sont les bienvenues!
Controversial art works
Types of arguments
|R.Mutt (a.k.a. Marcel Duchamp)||Fountain [the urinal], 1917||Refused from the American Society of Independent Artists inaugural non-juried exhibition, New York, 1917||Ethical:Art as fraud, deceit or insincere hoax
Aesthetic: It is not art
|Jean Paul Mousseau
||The Blob, 1995
||Juried Show of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1955||Aesthetic:It is not art
Technical: Artless, lacking technique
|Marcien Lemay, artist and Etienne Gaboury, architect||Louis Riel Monument, 1970
||Public sculpture, grounds of the Manitoba legislature, Winnipeg Installed c.1970, relocated/demolished 1994||Aesthetic: Art is ugly
Representation: Memorial undignified, perverse, inappropriate
|Gordon Reeves||Justice, 1986||Public sculpture, Winnipeg Law Courts Building, Installed 1986||Populist: Obscure
Economic: Waste of money
|Lori Meserve||On the Other Hand, 1991||Anna Leonowens Gallery, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, April 1991||Moral: Lesbian art obscene|
||Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino, n.d.
||Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, February 1992||Economic: Waste of public money|
||Piss Pope I and II||Exhibited along side Francisco Goya's Disasters of War Vancouver Art Gallery, October 1995||Moral: anti-Catholic, obscene, iconoclastic|
|John Wayne Gacy||Paintings from the early 1980's||Work never exhibited, Plug In Gallery, Winnipeg, 1996||Moral: Killer shouldn't be given exhibition
Economic: Misuse of public funds
||Artist residency as part of Visions of Quebec group exhibition
||Confederation Centre for the Arts, Charlottetown, P.E.I., July 1996||Political: Art is treasonous
Economic: No federal money to separatist
Moral: Separatist shouldn't be given exhibition
||No. 1 Northern, 1976
||Public sculpture, Canadian Grain Commission Building, Winnipeg.
Installed 1976, relocated 1978, storage c.1980, reinstalled 1997
|Aesthetic: Ugly, insignificant
Economic: Waste of tax money
||Naturalism and Artifice in Homoerotic Photography, 1870-1970 (Curated by Bruce Hugh Russell)
||Plug In Gallery, Winnipeg
|Propriety: Misuse of public symbol