In general, I like Robert Mapplethorpe’s works, particularly his still images of flowers and portraits of celebrities. I think it is a great expression of artistic talent that should be shared to the world. However, I find it hard to classify his nude photos of men and women as pornographic or not because some of the pictures actually convey messahes. On the other hand, there also photos that cross the line. In other words, while his photographs may not entirely be pornographic, I think there should be a limit or a boundary for its exhibition.
Yes I think the National Endowment for the Arts was justified in funding Robert Mapplethorpe’s exhibition because a lot of his pictures are good works of art. But I also think that the people viewing exhibit should have been limited due to its graphic content.
Yes I think that there should be restrictions on the kinds of art that deserve public funding especially if the works are purely pornographic and cannot be shown to the general public. I believe it is the responsibility of funding agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts to thoroughly screen these photos and works arts before they are funded.
I believe that some of Mapplethorpe’s work, particularly the ones that explicitly show a person’s genitals, should have never been shown to the public because while it conveys the art of homosexuality, it is not a pleasant sight for most people. He should understand that not everyone will share his views on controversial topics such as homosexuality.
For me, Mapplethorpe was a successful artist in the sense that he was able to capture the true essence of the subjects in his photography and show it to the world. The fact that he is able to think of such concepts, themes, and angles in his photographs means that he is truly gifted. However, I also believe that he shouldn’t have been toe daring and explicit in his works and should have been more sensitive to the thoughts of the public.
I basically judge the morally problematic content of Mapplethorpe’s works based on their context, depiction, and illustration. For example, one of Mapplethorpe’s works is a picture of a male showing only his organ. For me, this is highly questionable because although art can be expressed freely, it does have its limits. It’s hard to imagine how this particular picture shows anything but obscenity. In short, my way of judging Mapplethorpe’s works is relative to their quality and not necessarily due to its explicitly graphic content.