Role playing can be an effective way to engage students in art appreciation courses, especially when those students come from varied fields of study without any intention of continuing in art. Games that bring history and contentious events alive allow students to evaluate historical contexts and apply new knowledge through live debate. This paper explores the methods, structure, and outcome of a classroom role-playing game on the topic of the 1990 case of Cincinnati versus Contemporary Art Center over obscenity charges from a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit. Artists have historically struggled against censorship. Introducing challenging artwork into an art appreciation classroom can be problematic when students lack proper analytical tools, but real-time debate allows students to push aside their discomfort and focus on the political, social and artistic forces of censorship. The author teaches at a small, private, Christian university and effectively uses the Mapplethorpe case to stimulate additional classroom discussion on academic freedom.
|Keywords:||Robert Mapplethorpe, Art Appreciation, Censorship, Obscenity, Reacting to the Past, Pedagogy, Cincinnati|
Associate Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Communication, Literature and Arts, Department of Communication, Literature and Arts, Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
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