Art That Pushes the Envelope: What Does It Achieve?

Posted on February 16, 2012

Paper presented at Beyond Censorship: Art and Ethics – a session held during the College Arts Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA


Are we right to look solely at control, potential censorship and discussion of ‘ethics’ when evaluating boundaries surrounding the use and abuse of animals in artistic expression? Maybe a further productive angle is to examine the culture of the art world itself. What are the incentives that drive artists to the edges of animal abuse in their work? Through rewarding sensationalism and ‘newness’ at any cost, is the art establishment complicit in artists’ animal abuses? Does the culture of a Conceptual Art driven by rationality and eschewing almost any form of aesthetic or emotional content inoculate artists against feelings for their subjects?

This paper will explore these and other questions, focusing on what artists may believe they are achieving by pushing the envelope rather than on whether such activities should be controlled after they have been, maybe unwittingly, encouraged.

Full Session Details:

Beyond Censorship: Art and Ethics
Wednesday, February 22, 9:30 AM–12:00 PM
Concourse Meeting Room 408B, Level 2, Los Angeles Convention Center
Chair: Gerald Silk, Tyler School of Art, Temple University
Blending Art and Ethics: Marco Evaristti’s “Helena” and the Killing Aesthetic
Jonathan Wallis, Moore College of Art and Design
The Influence of Social Media on Controversy and Censorship in the Work of Guillermo Vargas and Nuno Ramos
Donna Moran, Pratt Institute
Art that Pushes the Envelope: What Does It Achieve?
Joe Zammit-Lucia, Artist, Author, Independent Scholar
The Ethics of Picturing Suffering
Nora Jones, University of Pennsylvania
Do the Ends Justify the Means? Examining the Ethics of Progressive Art Production
Alexandra Phillips, Emily Carr University of Art and Design