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'Tea & Ethics' seminar delves into art censorship

January 16, 2009

Coastal Carolina University professors Arne Flaten and Elizabeth Howie will give a talk titled "Sex, Lies and Hypocrisy: The Ethics of Censorship in Art" on Thursday, Jan. 29, at 4:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

This discussion, which is part of the University's Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values' Tea & Ethics series, will repeat Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at Croissants Bakery and Caf, located at 3751 Grissom Parkway, Myrtle Beach.

Flaten, associate professor of art history and associate dean of the Edwards College, and Howie, assistant professor of art history, will offer an overview of art and censorship as part of a discussion about artistic integrity and freedom. "Censorship of art is big news, from Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano to the NEA Four and the Brooklyn Museum of Art 'Sensation' show," says Howie. "Such headlines raise questions from 'Can an artist go too far?' to 'When does art become pornography?'" Definitions of obscenity will also be discussed.

Flaten joined the Coastal faculty in 2003. He earned a bachelor's degree in studio art and English literature at St. Olaf College, and a master's degree and a Ph.D. in art history from Indiana University-Bloomington. He is the co-director of Ashes2Art, a computer program that develops virtual reconstructions of ancient monuments. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Flaten is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Commission; the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Renaissance Society of America; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the J. Paul Getty Research Institute; and multiple grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Elizabeth Howie teaches art history. She earned a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an M.F.A. in ceramic sculpture from Louisiana State University. She previously taught art history at Wake Forest University. Howie specializes in modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on the history and theory of photography. Her research interests include work on photography and melancholy, colonial photography and visual representations of prostitution.

The Jackson Center seeks to cultivate and promote awareness in the community of the importance of personal and professional integrity. For more information, contact the director of the center, Claudia McCollough, at 843-349-2440.