Art as Challenge to Orthodoxy

Over the years artistic expression has been celebrated for its challenge of various orthodoxies whether those were, religious, gender based, sexual or long standing cultural norms.  Who can forget the artist Andre Serarano’s photograph Piss Christ where the artist submerged a crucifix in a jar of his own urine all with US taxpayer money.  It offended a lot of people, especially Christians but many defended his artistic expression right up to the present day.  It was provocative, challenging etc.  Several examples can be found here and here.  Serrano himself considered it an attack on the commercialization of Christ supposedly.  Some of his other works contradict this and I am thinking of the beaten nun photograph .  But attacks on Catholicism and Christianity are really not attacking a dominant order anymore.  The major media, art circles, most academics and many politicians are anti-catholic, anti-christian and anti-western civilization.  They have become their own petty, smug orthodoxy.  Where is the art that challenges them?  I wonder when will some half mad artist produce a work of racism based on his understanding of human sub-species and anchored in neo-darwinian evolution.  Or an anti-feminist work that portrays women as inferior to men based on studies showing their lower ability to handle stress and their lesser physical strength.  Perhaps a play portraying gays as deeply disturbed individuals, with serious gender identity problems whose very homosexuality is an offshoot of a psychological pathology.

As the theologian Martin Luther said, “It all depends on whose ox is being gored.”  I don’t imagine for a minute that those who defended artists that agreed with their world view would defend those who don’t.  And neither do I believe artists should care what anyone thinks but should express themselves as they see the world.  They should also be ready to not make a living, be ostracized, vilified, despised and hated.


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