The Problem Field of Ethico-Cultural Evaluation of Contemporary Art


The challenges of contemporary art include its perception by the public and society in general. Modern art has long utilized provocative and deliberately disruptive acts and statements as one of the tools that allow it to produce public reaction. However, today such actions and statements increasingly face explosive responses from offended audiences, especially amongst the more conservative parts of society. Often such reactions do not limit themselves to the expression of public indignation but proceed to courts and demands to officially sanction offensive art. This article contributes to the polemic around offensive art by identifying problems in contemporary practice of art evaluation in Russia and its limitation, and suggesting ethico-cultural evaluation as a comprehensive approach to analyse the art event or work as insulting or morally dangerous. The identification of problems is based on analysis of existing experts’ statements on the artworks denounced as offensive. The theoretical framework of the research is provided by regulatory legal acts, critical research on vilification laws and the theory of humanitarian evaluation.

Keywords: ethico-cultural evaluation, hate speech, religious feelings, Russia, Article 282, Article 148, religious offense, offensive art

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