Many people love art so they go to art museums or they might paint a picture or write a poem. However, many people who love art aren’t sure whether art has or should have a moral message. In addition, there is a question whether art and morality have any connection at all. I don’t think that art and morality have anything to do with each other.
I think that some art does have a moral message but it is up to the observer of that piece of art to discover the moral message within a piece of art. In other words, it is up to the person observing a painting, a sculpture, or reading a book to interpret the moral message in these works of art. We get out of art what we want to get out of it. In fact, according to Robert Ingersoll, art has nothing to do directly with morality or immorality; art is its own excuse for being. Art exists for itself (1888: 1). Therefore, we attach morality to art if we chose to do so. In short, whether art has morality depends on our life experiences.
I enjoy all types of artwork for its own sake and I just sit back and enjoy music on an everyday basis. If there are swear words in rap lyrics then, I do my best to ignore them and listen to the intrinsic beauty of the music. I do enjoy all types of movies especially movies that seem to have morally problematic themes in them such as Brokeback Mountain and The Hours. I am not homosexual however I enjoyed those movies and I did discuss them afterwards. However, I don’t believe that controversial elements ruin the enjoyment of any type of artwork.
I also don’t think that any art should be censored. This is due to the fact that art lovers can and do censor themselves as to the type of artwork that they wish to see; for example art lovers will not go see an art exhibit dealing with the naked body if they don’t want to see the exhibit. Artists are allowed to put love and hope into marble and to paint dreams and memories with words. According to Robert Ingersoll, art involves enriching the earth with gems and jewels of the mind (1888:2). Therefore, both morality and censorship don’t mix.
1. Robert, I (1888, March). Art and Morality. <http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert-ingersoll/art_and_morality.html