When does something cross the line from artsy to obscene? Why is a nude painting artistic, whereas half-clad cheerleading is obscene? I am referring to this article where Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul noted that the complainants, “seem to be of the type who wouldn't go to any art gallery or have any interest in contemporary art because if they did, they would know that there are many artists who embrace nudity as part of their contemporary art."
About this time last year, we had a scandal involving Richard Gere and Shilpa Shetty. The court in Rajasthan ordered the arrest of the duo under IPC Section 294 (committing obscene act in a public place). What really happened was that Gere kissed Shetty on her cheeks. Thrice! The whole nation went up in arms against the incident. Recently, we had the cheerleader issue in the IPL. In both the above cases, the people in question had more than enough clothing to cover ‘objectionable’ areas.
Not so in MF Hussain’s case. He painted Hindu deities and Mother India in the nude. The kind of action that could get you fatwa’d. How different is he from the Dutch artist who cartooned The Prophet? At-least the cartoonist had sense to clothe and add a turban to the cartoon in question.
Oh I get it. The cartoonist hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims. Whereas, according to the ruling yesterday, MF was just being a ‘contemporary’ artist. I stand corrected. Depicting Goddesses in the nude is freedom of expression… How dumb of me!
Coming back to the Judge’s comment, I still have not understood ‘contemporary’ art. I hate modern art. I think inkblots have more character than most of the obscenely expensive stuff that looks worse than the paintings of a kindergarten kid high on LSD, let lose with a paintbrush. I fail to see art in them, and I have tried hard. Look at these few exhibits…
Hell! I can do better than that!
And just in case you were wondering, the first image is ‘Fishbowl’ by a kindergarten kid and the second by Picasso called ‘Still Life’. To me the fishbowl looks more artsy than the still life. But, then again, that’s me.