[Journal of Language and Politics 3:3] 2004
► pp. 385–407
Controversial works of art
Some notes on public conflicts
Art is a public affair because its meaning is always collectively negotiated. Thus, public conflicts that are triggered by works of art are essentially political and inevitable. The analysis of these conflicts points to the effective limits of acceptability of art in a given social constellation.
The following paper investigates two types of art conflicts: (1) conflicts that, at first glance, revolve around the interpretation and the aesthetic appreciation of an artwork; and (2) conflicts that explicitly call into question the legal legitimacy of publication of an artwork.
This investigation aims to reveal the variety of contents and conditions which pre-structure public conflicts. Further, it opens a normative discussion of the current forms of dealing with such conflicts in the mass media and in the jurisdiction. Such a critical discussion is necessary, since the political quality of a society can be assessed on how it relates to its own conflicting nature.