Monday, November 29, 2010

TODAY IN THE ARTS. See what you're missing, not reading National Review's The Corner? There Kathryn J. Lopez sent me to CNSnews for
Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts

WARNING: This story contains graphic photographs of items on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.
It is a thing of beauty. Reporter Penny Starr copiously details the outrages. Her descriptions are pretty good:
One of the paintings in the exhibit is “O’Hara Nude with Boots,” from 1954, by Larry Rivers. O’Hara was an American poet (1926-1966). The painting depicts O’Hara standing nude and the exhibit description says Rivers was O’Hara’s “sometime lover.”
But those she wisely excerpts from the catalogue are even better:
Broadly modeled on Goya’s dystopian Saturn Devouring His Children, Caja’s painting depicts his friend and muse Charles Sexton engaged in an act of self-cannibalism. Literally painted on Sexton’s ashes after his death from AIDS, Charles Devouring Himself, like Caja’s Bozo F---s Death, an image of a heavyset clown engaged in anal intercourse with a grinning skeleton, hit that sweet spot, so often historically associated with drag queens, between pathos and aggression.
I've got my trip all planned, but the idea is to get CNSnews' wingnut readers worked up about these homosexual doings put out where children can see them. In our Nation's Capital. At Christmas!

It isn't a Christmas show per se, though, it's a three-and-a-half-month show that just happens to run through Christmas. (It's also running through Hanukah, so Michael Savage can get in on this if he wants to.) But the vicissitudes of scheduling are no excuse. Picture it: The Petersons come from Oshkosh to D.C. for the holidays. They're tripping down the Mall, and suddenly spy the National Portrait Gallery. Portraits! If the kids didn't like going through metal detectors and standing in line for a glimpse of the Constitution, maybe they can be edified by majestic oils of Washington and Jefferson. They get in there and John Wayne Gacy is sodomizing a skeleton and that lady from TV is feeling herself up. Even a whole afternoon at the Air and Space Museum won't wash that out of their brainpans.

I applaud Starr for her honesty in pointing out that the exhibition is financed by sponsors rather than by taxpayers, but Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute finds a loophole:
"If the Smithsonian didn't have the taxpayer-funded building, they would have no space to present the exhibit, right? In my own view, if someone takes taxpayer money, then I think the taxpayers have every right to question the institutions where the money's going."

"Think about the Washington Post," he said. "They don't have to publish every op-ed that they get, right? They own the platform. In this case [the Smithsonian Institution], the taxpayers own the platform and so the taxpayers should decide what is presented on that platform."
In fact, what do we have statist curators for, anyway? Turn these apparatchiks out and let the people decide what goes and doesn't go at the National Portrait Gallery! Then we can have room after room of giant TVs playing Dancing with the Stars and Fox News, and if there must be sodomy, let it be as practiced on the adult cable channels and Cinemax.

It was getting a little slow on the culture war front; I'm glad to see they've still got it in them.

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