To all those Concerned:
We are a group of artists who are very concerned that the arts do not overstep their bounds. We strive to use our G-d given freedom of expression not to surpass measures of normalcy and decency in our society. To aid in this quest, we have gathered various approaches of how countries have sought to do this in their own original ways. We hope this information will help you further develop your pending laws regarding the arts in Israel. We hope and trust that you will protect all citizens from seeing, hearing and experiencing art that will be harmful to their collective psyche. We recognize that Art can be a dangerous tool in the hands of the wrong people. Free artistic expression cannot take priority over the State, i.e. the current government and it’s groundbreaking policies. We applaud your new initiatives and encourage you to work further; we encourage you to help us develop a comprehensive Government Handbook for the Arts. We hope that the ideas below might help in this important task. Signed, The Artists Committee for Social Decency and the Arts
Russia-rules on Painting
1. All art should depict the emancipation of the proletariat by means of realistic imagery.
2) Art should avoid realistic depiction of subjects of social concern.
3) The sight of a healthy body, intelligent face or friendly smile is essentially life-enhancing, and should be used as much as possible in works of art.
4) As Art has a direct effect on the human organism, under the right circumstances that effect can and should be positive.
5) Art should depict the”the perfect person” (New Soviet man) and educate citizens on how to be the perfect Soviets.
Greece- rules on Music
Basic principle: Artists should know one important principle: Good harmony…and good rhythm, accompany good disposition.’
N. Korea-rules on all Art
1) The idea that ‘work is happiness’ should be communicated through all artworks.
2) All art exists to push the normal and respectful social and political message.
3) Art should show support for the leadership of the country.
4) All art should show an appreciation of the country’s natural beauty.
4) All art should show a passion for working.
5) In general artists should strive to create work which inspires viewers to have patriotic feelings about their country.
Germany -rules on Music
- Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoires of light orchestras and dance bands.
- In this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics.
- As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated.
- So-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs).
- Strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.).
- Also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches).
- The double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions.
- Plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden.
- Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat).
- All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violin-cello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.
China-rules for all Arts and Culture
- Avoid using the old ideas, culture, customs, and habits of the past (of the exploiting classes) that may corrupt the masses, capture their minds.
- All art should seek to change the outlook of society. It should struggle against and crush those people in authority who are taking the wrong road.
- All art should be transformed to facilitate the consolation and development of the socialist system. All other art, especially emanating from the bourgeois academic authorities, should be crushed.
Israel- rules for the Arts (Cultural Loyalty Act /proposed additions)
1) Art may not deny that the State of Israel is a Jewish, democratic country.
2) Art may not incite racism, violence, or terror, as well as extreme political positions.
3) Art may not support an armed struggle or acts of terror against Israel by an enemy state or a terror group. This includes unarmed demonstrations.
4) All Art must not mark Israel’s Independence Day as a day of mourning. All art should express joy and thanksgiving on these occasions.
5) All Art may not depict or create any act of destruction or physical degradation of the flag or any state symbol. Physical representations of the flag that show anything but the complete flag, untarnished or not destroyed, are forbidden.
6) All Art must avoid depicting the current aspects of the current Palestinian struggle, except when Israel is seen in a fair and balanced way.
7) Theater productions will be forbidden to use texts in foreign languages (especially Arabic), especially text of those writers who are known to be critiques of the Jewish state.
The Artists Committee for Social Decency and the Arts
APPENDIX We strongly recommend the following reading:
1) The Artist at Work, short story by Albert Camus.
2) The essay “Create Dangerously”, by Albert Camus (in his book Resistance, Rebellion and Death).
3) Famous quotes:
“The art always wins. Anything can happen to me, but the art will stay”
“If scientific development or military defense should be funded, then art should have an equal position”
“Nothing can silence me as long as I am alive.”
—from Ai Weiwei’s rules for life and art