Brancusi's Sculpture Bird in Space Essay

Pages: 2 (664 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Brancusi's Bird In Space: Defining Art

The decision of U.S. Custom's to obstruct the entrance of Brancusi's Bird in Space sculpture by charging tax for its importation constitutes an aggressive and irrational subjectivity with respect to art and the value of specific modes of artistic expression. The Brancusi sculpture, which would since be elevated to the status as the single highest auction price tag on a piece of artwork on sale in America -- going to a collector for over $27 million in 2005 -- was essentially blocked by customs in 1926 based on the argument that it did not constitute an example of art. (BBC, 1)

So is this reported by an article from Time Magazine (1928), reporting the details of the succeeding court challenge. Here, the magazine denotes that "works of art are duty free. But Sculptor Brancusi's bird had neither head, feet nor feathers. It was four and a half feet of bronze which swooped up from its base like a slender jet of flame. Customs Inspector Kracke said it was not art; merely 'a manufacture of metal . . . held dutiable at 40% ad valorem.'" (Time Magazine, 1)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Brancusi's Sculpture Bird in Space Assignment

We are made to understand by this passage that the Customs Inspector essentially appointed himself as a critic of the arts, making his own intellectual and aesthetic standards those by which art's veracity was to be measured. This constitutes a denial of Bancusi's right to freedom of expression, but even more problematically, such a decision would place in the hands of government functionaries and bureaucrats the final determination on that which should be seen as art. In the case of Brancusi's sculpture, Customs officials would argue in response to Brancusi's legal challenge that the degree to which the sculpture did not look like a bird was sufficient to dismiss it as art. Further, the metal materials used would incline such government personnel to seek definition of the object as a kitchen utensil or hospital supply according to the shipping… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Brancusi's Sculpture Bird in Space" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Brancusi's Sculpture Bird in Space.  (2009, September 6).  Retrieved April 13, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Brancusi's Sculpture Bird in Space."  6 September 2009.  Web.  13 April 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Brancusi's Sculpture Bird in Space."  September 6, 2009.  Accessed April 13, 2021.