This is a matter of great debate and one of the biggest issues is who decides if the art is appropriate. The united States Government is by no means required to use tax payer money to fund the expression Of the arts, but once the government funds a program they are not allowed to withdraw funding if they disagree With the art being shown. This rule essentially bans the government from applying any censors on the art shown in these programs.
Basically once the government decides to fund a program of the arts they are required to stand by their decision under U. S. Law. Also the government is not allowed to push their viewpoints onto biblically funded programs. “As stated by the National Coalition Against Censorship, public funding for the arts does not low the government to play the role of censor. ” (Kenilworth).
Prohibiting the government to make any sort of decision of the art they fund is a flawed system and there needs to be some sort of retort such as having elected members of a committee determine which art is appropriate, but also have a set of checks and balances in place to prevent corruption It is true that if the government does not like certain pieces of art they have no obligation to fund it in the first place, but once a program gets backed by the government basically has free reign to Penn the tax payers’ money however they want. This can turn into a very large issue.
For example, in 1989 protests erupted over an exhibit in which an artist who Vass receiving money from the government displayed a piece of “art” in which he submerged Jesus Christ on a Crucifix in his own urine. The aptly named Pips Christ was one of many disgusting and sometimes disturbing pieces that went under review in a 1989 Supreme Court case. (Squiggly). In this court case the government attempted to completely cut funding for the National Endowment or the Arts if they continued to allow pornographic material or material that is “shocking by any standards” to be paid for by tax payer money.
A bill was ultimately passed that banned NEE funding for materials that may be considered obscene. This was a huge improvement in an otherwise unrestrictive and very controversial program for decades. However, this bill does not guarantee that obscene material will not get funded. As many artists find loopholes by claiming their work has artistic value, Although the government has made great strides in stringing pay for shocking material, somebody always finds a way to have their vulgar and disgusting material funded, There is great debate on how to define their work as having no artistic value.
The Miller Test, Created after a supreme court case in 1971 has a three pronged system that tries to classify which art should be prohibited. ‘Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards (not national standards, as some prior tests required), would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law; whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value” (Miller V.
California). This System has successfully made it easier to prevent shocking or pornographic material from being biblically funded and although it has its flaws it has not only saved the taxpayers paying for this material, it has also made the definition of obscene art a little less vague. The debate on Whether or not the government is allowed to censor art is an ongoing one, but it is safe to say that the majority of tax payers do not want to see their money wasted on things such as Pips Jesus.
Ultimately what deems a piece of art to be classified as too obscene or shocking is a matter of opinion and that is exactly why this problem will arise in the future. Common sense should be the deciding factor, if general society protests a piece of art or the art is made just for the purpose of pushing the boundaries of the law it should not be funded by the government.