Grayson Perry serves as the ideal poster boy — or perhaps poster girl — for this discomfiting trend. A Turner Prize recipient and England’s most famous cross-dressing potter, Perry has been heralded for his controversial explorations of religious imagery, which include a vase entitled “Transvestite Brides of Christ” and a portrayal of the Virgin Mary that is best left to the imagination. Yet apparently there are some boundaries that even groundbreaking artists dare not cross.
“I’ve censored myself,” Perry told the Times, admitting that he treads lightly around radical Islam. “With other targets you’ve got a better idea of who they are but Islamism is very amorphous. You don’t know what the threshold is. Even what seems an innocuous image might trigger off a really violent reaction so I just play safe all the time.” Self-censorship thus boils down to self-preservation. “The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.”