Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression

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Robert Atkins, Svetlana Mintcheva
New Press, 2006 - Art - 353 pages
A bestselling art historian and a free speech advocate explore subtle new forms of censorship in the art world and beyond.

"In private, museum people have told me that self-censorship is indeed the order of the day. But it is quite rare for an official to speak about it in public. Self-censorship occurs behind closed doors. There are practically no whistle-blowers."Hans Haacke, conceptual artist known for his socially and politically engaged art

If your idea of censorship is an anonymous bureaucrat in a government office exercising prudish control over "offensive" art and speech, wake up and smell the conglomeration. Censorship today is just as likely to be the result of a market force or a bandwidth monopoly as a line edit or the covering of a nude sculpture, and the current system of new technologies and economic arrangements has subtle, built-in mechanisms for suppressing free expression as powerful as any known in other centuries.

In Censoring Culture, the nationally known author of the ArtSpeak books and the head of the National Coalition Against Censorship's Arts Program bring together the latest thinking from art historians, cultural theorists, legal scholars, and psychoanalysts, as well as first-person accounts by artists and advocates, to give us a comprehensive understanding of censorship in a new century.

Contributors include:
J.M. Coetzee, Judy Blume, and others on self-censorship
Hans Haacke on the marriage of art and money
DeeDee Halleck on the military-media-industrial complex
Marjorie Heins on violence and children
Randall Kennedy on the risks of regulating hate speech
Lawrence Lessig on creativity and copyright in the electronic age
Judith Levine on shielding children from sex
Diane Ravitch on sensitivity guidelines for national testing
Douglas Thomas on hackers and hacking culture

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Private Censorship Corporate Power
American Music Challenges the Copyright Tradition

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About the author (2006)

Robert Atkins is an award-winning art historian, activist, and bestselling author of ArtSpeak and ArtSpoke. From 1987 to 1997, he wrote a biweekly column on art and politics for the Village Voice. A co-founder of Visual Aids, he lives in Palm Springs and San Francisco.

Svetlana Mintcheva is the director of the Arts Program of the National Coalition Against Censorship, an alliance of fifty nonprofit organizations devoted to freedom of expression in the arts. She lives in New York City.

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