Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chickenshit Smithsonian Censors Exhibit In Response To Catholic Fringe Group Intolerance, Republican Threats

Unbelievable: earlier today, the assholes at the Catholic League and CNS News, a hardcore right-wing Catholic "news" site, complained about the National Portrait Gallery's excellent Hide/Seek exhibition. They were particularly offended by David Wojnarowicz' "A Fire in My Belly" video, which includes a crucifix crawling with ants. Soon enough, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Jack Kingston (R-GA) threatened the museum's funding and *poof* the video was removed. Just like that. Please consider this quote:

Spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas told the New York Post that it does not comment “on people’s opinions on art.”

Oh really? Because it seems to me that removing the video as quickly as possible is certainly a comment "on people's opinions on art."

Let me tell you that it is unheard of for a major art museum to alter an exhibition in response to criticism like this (the Corcoran's Mapplethorpe fiasco aside), particularly from such dependably, perpetually offended fringe groups like CNS News. And do they really think this will mollify them, when they made it clear that they hated the entire exhibition?

What a bunch of spineless cowards. As an employee of a museum which –thank goodness– is not part of the Smithsonian, I am beyond appalled.

Image: Wojnarowicz'  incredibly appropriate self portrait, via Wikipedia.

UPDATE – I just realized that tomorrow is World AIDS Day. What a great time for the Smithsonian to censor an allegorical video about the suffering caused by AIDS. Well done.

EDIT: Eric Cantor has demanded that the entire exhibition be pulled, so this isn't over yet. It's obvious that the Smithsonian yanked the video because that's what CNS complained about the most, and they hope that removing the video will pacify them. It won't; it will empower them.

UPDATE: Blake Gopnik, the Washington Post's art critic and a writer who I generally dislike, has an outstanding condemnation of the NPG's cowardly act of self censorship here. Please also see artist/writer Dale Hoyt's excellent comment on this post in which he further elucidates the horrible irony of the connection attacks against art by "conservatives" have to World AIDS Day.


John said...

Did they think that removing the video would end it? Because it's quite clear that the inquisition is just getting started. Not just spineless, but *stupid*.

John said...

By the way, although the National Portrait Gallery's web site is pretty much visitor-proof, if you "like" them on Facebook, you can give them feedback!

Peteykins said...

They do have a discreet "contact us" section. I sent them a letter of complaint.

Dale Hoyt said...

Happy World AIDS day, an event launched to protest the persecution of the then recently deceased Robert Mapplethorpe by The Conservative GOP.

His beautiful body was still warm...

And now 21 years later they revisit, taunt and desecrate another corspe, David Wojnarowicz.

Damn you to hell necrophiliac Religious Right and kiss my ass cowardly Smithsonian.

Peteykins said...

Thanks a bunch for the comment, Dale. The irony and sadness deepens...

Anonymous said...

what John said. Its just getting started. And what PSP said, Obama has consistently empowered them by trying to 'compromise'. Better find your favorite burka before the price goes up.

Major Mel Funkshun said...

So let me get this straight. The National Portrait Gallery pulled a video because it was 'offensive' yet Fox news gets to show same 'offensive' video on it's website? Why doesn't the museum just show Fox news, showing the 'offensive' video? I also wonder when the last time any of these 'offended' people have even been in an art museum.

desertwind said...

The 80s really are back, aren't they?

Gah. NOT looking forward to the Boehner administration.

PS -- Why I hate Oprah: A friend of mine (John Fleck) was one of The NEA Five (can't remember all, but that included Ann Magnuson, Karen Finley and ?? who'd received paltry little couple thousand dollar grants.)

John was a guest on Oprah & she totally ambushed him with her intro: He urinates on stage!

Audience boos.

Gah. What assholes.

And that includes the National Portrait Gallery.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Fucke these right-wing motherfuckers. If there is a hell, they should burn in itte.

Anonymous said...

I never understood how Catholic organizations could wield such power over the general culture. Remember how they scared the living bejesus out of Hollywood back in the teens, '20s and '30s? Well, maybe we don't, because we weren't alive then. But reading the history of Hollywood's Golden Age, I just couldn't figure out why a bunch of powerful Jews allowed themselves to be bullied by the League of Decency or whatever the heck they called themselves. I guess Mayer and Goldwyn and all the other moguls were just worried about their bottom line. As the NPG apparently is today.

Anonymous said...

WHY can't ya'll BELIEVE IT???? I mean, you know, The Catholics changed the birthday of Jesus to fit into a pagan holiday instead of late August. They wield high power.
Hope I am one of the chosen to help in the persecution of their souls in the depths of Valhalla.
Peace & love, tofu, satan & carrots! ;p

Bartman said...

There should be a name for the phenomenon the Major is describing above, of the showing of a pulled showing of offensive material; a new name with "Daisy-chain" in it.