Free Speech in the Art World
Issue

6.4 / Free Speech in the Art World

May 27 2015

Introduction

The Constitution protects our right to free speech, but its exercise is another matter entirely. In every direction, we are surrounded by varieties of speech that are decidedly unfree: advertising, self-censorship, pandering, cliché, euphemism, forced confessions, and on and on. Indeed, studying the sundry genres of unfree speech would be one way to approach the topic—to delineate, by process of elimination, a zone where speech was actually free.

The art world purports to be such a zone. One possible definition of art would be expression that attains a condition of freedom. The fact that the art world promises—however disingenuously—to be a space that preserves and elevates such expression makes it a space worthy of both vigilant protection and thoroughgoing investigation.

While it is impossible to take up every aspect of free speech in the art world, these texts—in both form and content—address some of the basic questions that surround this issue today. Having established and mostly maintained the right to free speech, we still have to work constantly toward its achievement, and I hope this publication helps pull in that direction. —Dushko Petrovich

Features

Free Speech in the Art World

Free Speech in the Art World

By Dushko Petrovich

While it is impossible to take up every aspect of free speech in the art world, these texts—in both form and content—address some of the basic questions that surround this question today.

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Read about it in Artforum!

Read about it in Artforum!

By Gwen Allen

Artforum is probably the best art magazine but it’s depressing that it’s gotten so bad and close to the others. 

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Being of the Gaze

Being of the Gaze

By Colleen Asper

Why, in the absence of censorship, do we use our so-called freedoms largely to reproduce existing structures of oppression?

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Dying of Exposure

Dying of Exposure

By Aruna D’Souza

I imagined that the fact that I was subject to economic realities was my failure and not the failure of larger systems of economic relations.

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Fit for Print

Fit for Print

By Dan Fox

I loved magazines: their feel and scent, their full-bleed color photos and ultra-modern typefaces that could absorb me for hours.

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How to Read with Other People

How to Read with Other People

By Orit Gat

If magazines are a resource, then we should expect certain things from them, and we should read them and discuss them and care about them.

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