The readings about censorship in art really bring up the issue of challenging the status quo. A lot of art is made to do just that, to push people away from their norms and make the public think critically. Maybe that's why, like the "Art in Russia: Under Attack" article said, the "Soviet government understood art very well: they understood it had to be tightly controlled" (Page 1). The SU wanted to control their public, and restricting art was a very good way to prevent any unwanted ideas from reaching the public.
What I found interesting, was that a people's organization was stifling the "Forbidden Art" exhibition. The right-wing organization was offended by the anti-religious views expressed, so they went to Moscow prosecutors (Page 1, Art in Russia: Under Attack). This is kind of interesting because the people are kind of censoring themselves in a way. The group was very nationalist and conservative, but it wasn't actually the government censoring art until the group brought it to the attention of the police.
I think this brings up an interesting point about how people censor themselves when it comes to art. When the public sees something they find morally wrong or controversial in art, censoring it can be very damaging to society as a whole. How could we come up with new ideas or challenge people in power if all the art contrary to the norm is shut down before it can spread?
In America, where the government is a bit less controlling of artists, much of the NY public had different views about the "offensive" painting. There are people who say, "I can't believe that this has caused this commotion," and, "I don’t know. I don’t have an adverse reaction to it. You know, it’s someone’s view on something," as well as people who say, "I’m furious about this. This is a tremendous insult to the mother of my God and to me" (Page 2, The Art of Controversy). If people like the latter person tried to censor the art, how would there be any challenges or anything that upsets the standardized form of thinking?
The government is trying to shut down that religiously offensive painting in NY, but is that right? I don't think so because the government, at least our government, isn't supposed to try and promote or protect any one religion. I bet if there was a painting that was incredibly offensive to another religion, the government wouldn't be as ready to censor it.
Overall, I think that censoring art, whether it be the government or the people, is a really poor way to encourage new ideas. This might be a good thing for the government in a place like the Soviet Union, but otherwise it keeps the public in a thinking rut. Art that's made to push boundaries needs to be able to be seen so it can push those boundaries.