It seems already well established that art does not have to show everything, but CAN it show everything? Nowadays, as for all periods in our history, there are controversies, debates, and divergent positions; this is why I would like to express here my opinion.
Let us ask one question beforehand: what can be understood as ART today? One of the central issues in contemporary creation is this one: who decides what the art is. The contemporary creation does not stop questioning the border of what is or what is not art.
And this question triggers the following other questions: where to show art? And show it to whom? In my opinion, in art everything can be exposed, except the absence of art, and not to everybody. Contrary to advertising which imposes itself to all eyes in the public place, the decision to enter a museum or a theater is a voluntary act. So, we should less censor what is exposed there, than advertising displayed on the streets or on television. We should less censor a novel or a movie than the TV news in which horrible crimes and incredible violence are being detailed to the view of everybody. Entering a cultural institution creates a distance, we are warned: it should thus be a fully open space, which should be able to play the role of receptacle of an emotional shock.
One central question in this debate is the one of the function of art: its function towards society varies depending if we attribute to art an entertainment purpose or an intellectual function. Anyway, art does not escape its context: we do not go like virgins to confront with a work of art, we go there with all our background (moral, intellectual, educational, etc.) there and this can explain the variety of reactions to the same proposal.
The artist must have the capacity to infringe codes, to make lines move, but he has do so for the sake of creativity, not because art would be used for pure provocation. And it is also necessary to recognize that there is creativity which started in the confrontation between author and spectator, that he can have a creative reactivity in a proposal there. In this confrontation, we make move lines to spread, to release, in the sense to make bring out ideas, thoughts and feelings, and not only to break laws.
In any case, what art has to trigger is emotion first, an aesthetic shock; then, later it can stimulate intellectualized internal thoughts. Art has to be, in my opinion, a bonus which oxygenates society, which opens the spirits, which reproduces or transposes the real world, which is by itself provocative.
To summarize, art does not have to show everything; it can show anything, provided that it creates an aesthetic shock and a proposal to make lines move, but not in every place, not for anybody. The free scandal, as well as organized scandal, is more the domain of publicity than of art. If there is a shock, it must be a cultural one; it cannot simply generate a mediatized confrontation.
Art does not have to look for scandal. Art should also pay attention to avoid being instrumentalised, it must avoid being subject to manipulation from outside, because this could in return provoke self-censorship of the artists. Art has to avoid, finally, the absence of any critical spirit and avoid accepting any type of malpractice for the sake of pure snobbism.