December 1, 2010

Smithsonian Caves To Right-Wing Art Critics


In a shocking move that is more reminiscent of 1990 then 2010, the Smithsonian Institution today removed a piece of work by renowed East Village artist David Wojnarowicz because of criticism from not-so-renowned art critics Catholic League President William Donahue and Rep. John Boehner.  The video, which depicts Christ on the cross crawling with ants as an AIDS analogy, is part of an remarkable new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery about gender identity and gay sexuality, the first such show that the Smithsonian has even mounted.

But now the gay-haters have latched onto this groundbreaking exhibit as a case of taxpayer waste, which is absurd when the amount of federal money spent on the show pales in comparison to the earmarks and general pork barreling that goes on up on Capitol Hill everyday. Regardless, the new Speaker of The House felt that American taxpayer money shouldn't be used for the exhibit and that "it's symbolic of the arrogance Washington routinely applies to thousands of spending decisions involving Americans' hard-earned money." 

Of coure, the real arrogance here is Boner's assumption that he, as a elected official, should be the judge and jury of what is and isn't art.  Perhaps Boner should focus on slightly more important matters of governance, like, you know, maybe reducing the federal deficit before we bankrupt the country?  Or how about repealing "Dont'Ask, Don't Tell" now that the US military's report says they are fine with it?  I don't think it's a coincidence that the day after that report came out, this is what Mr. Boner is focused on.  In a nutshell, he should stick to his job and leave the art to the artists.