Monday, June 22, 2009

The Monday Menagerie: Anti-Censorship Art

I'm not naive. I know that anti-censorship art is only ever appreciated by an anti-censorship audience, and that highlighting it on a bookstore blog is a classic case of 'preaching to the converted.' After all, the fears and beliefs of the pro-censorship crowd are far too complicated and heartfelt to ever be swayed by a cheeky piece of pop art, no matter how eye-catching it is. Think about it. Have you ever seen a big, black bar placed over a pair of boobs in such a way that caused you to think, 'Hmn, maybe I've been wrong. Maybe the naked human figure should be shrouded in secrecy and shame.'? Hells no. Still, the pro-censorship crowd gets velvet paintings of The Last Supper. It's only fair that we get these.

This is a button we used to sell in our store. They were so popular, we went through a small basket of them in less than a month. It wasn't until we were preparing the re-order that we realized they weren't actually selling. They were being stolen. To quote Inkwell Michelle, "Free speech isn't free, people!"

Here's the cover to Shahriar Mandanipour's recently released, Censoring An Iranian Love Story. The art was done by a fella named Peter Mendelsund (who also did the covers to Vertical's re-issues of the Black Jack books -- reviewed here). Although sales have been slim for this book in our store, the cover gets remarked upon by almost everyone who picks it up. Via.

I give full credit to opionaid for finding this Polish poster from Amnesty International. The first time I saw it on their site, I thought, 'What a brilliant blending of art and application!' Six months later, I'm still just as impressed. Duct tape truly is the ninth art.

eMediaWire reports, "R. Lloyd Ming's sculpture, made for his current solo art show, is called 'True Enlightenment Deferred'. It is a Buddha statue meditating in front of neon Playboy Bunny logo and it is meant to be a commentary on the censorship in China, particularly the censorship of pornography." Mark my words: Some savvy publisher is gonna snap this up for a book cover -- soon. When they do, I expect some sort of shout-out in the 'Acknowledgments' section. Or a t-shirt.