Wednesday, June 28, 2006

1985 Art on Trial Landscape XX

In 1984, Tipper Gore co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) because she heard her 12-year-old daughter playing "Darling Nikki" by Prince. Critics of the PMRC, including Jello Biafra, Dave Mustaine, and Frank Zappa, have accused the PMRC of conducting public and under-the-table censorship campaigns against various recording artists and have pointed out the PMRC's ties to the American religious right.

Art on Trial
The year is 1985, and Jello Biafra had just become the first musician in America to be put on trial for 'Obscenity' after reproducing Work 219: Landscape XX a painting by Swiss artist, H.R. Giger, which shows a number of penises entering women's vaginas, with only one wearing a condom.

It was because of this painting that Biafra's house in San Francisco was raided and torn apart by a squad of Los Angeles and San Francisco police officers. Former L.A. deputy city attorney Michael Guarino, regrets the episode. Stating, "About midway through the trial we realized that the lyrics of the album were in many ways socially responsible, very anti-drug and pro-individual."
from Speak Out Now!

H.R.Giger Landscape XX, 1973,
airbrushed acrylic on paper covered wood
Warning: Explicit Content below
This was the original cover for Frankenchrist, before being banned in the US.
Biafra's label brought to brink of bankruptcy
The legal cost of fighting the case pushed Biafra's independent record label which published Dead Kennedy's third album "Frankenchrist" to the brink of bankruptcy, and only through the support of their fans were able to ensure the label's survival. One could muse that the track 'MTV Get off the air' might been unpopular in certain music industry circles.

"One of the worst forms of censorship is what people are not being told." His live performances take that idea head-on, with Biafra weighing in on the entire spectrum of social, political, and artistic topics.
Jello Biafra, Spoken Word Show

1 comment:

Cecilia said...

This is awesome!