Now, I am too old and crippled up for much bike riding, and I live in a rural area where bikes are salvaged from other people’s trash rather than rented from a city bike renting outlet (or whatever they call them), but, those bikes sure are pretty! I hope Sabo will put similar baskets up for sale somewhere and I can attach ’em to some of the wheeled things that we have hanging around ye olde woodland shack.
MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals.
Last week President Trump released his proposed fiscal 2018 budget. Not included in it was funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The left, which dominates the arts, responded predictably, acting as if art itself was being attacked.
Sit down and breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Now relax. If the NEA and the NEH disappear–there will still be art. Even after eight years of economic dormancy under Barack Obama, the United States is still a fabulously wealthy nation with plenty of disposable income, some of which will of course be spent on the arts.
Do you feel better now? Good. I knew you would.
Art is everywhere. In fact it’s right in front of you now–my post at Da Tech Guy and all of the others here are artistic endeavors, albeit not funded by the federal government.
Yes, the NEA and the NEH, as far as I know, no longer funds exhibitions of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs showing genitalia of pre-pubescent girls or a display of Piss Christ, but this Great Society mutation of royal patronage of the arts–didn’t we fight a revolution against a king?–makes little cultural or economic sense, as George Will explains.
David Marcus, artistic director of a Brooklyn-based theater project and senior contributor to The Federalist, says the NEA produces “perverse market incentives” that explain why many arts institutions “are failing badly at reaching new audiences, and losing ground.”
“Many theater companies, even the country’s most ‘successful,’ get barely 50 percent of their revenue from ticket sales. Much of the rest comes from tax-deductible donations and direct government grants. This means that the real way to succeed as an arts organization is not to create a product that attracts new audiences, but to create a product that pleases those who dole out the free cash. The industry received more free money than it did a decade ago, and has fewer attendees.”
The arts community is incestuous, especially within its foundations and boardrooms. You scratch my Cubist back and I’ll massage your western yodeling feet. You’ve heard of crony capitalism. There is also crony arts.
As usual, I don’t have to look beyond my own grossly mismanaged state of Illinois–when we had budgets they made about as much sense as a Jackson Pollock painting–to find an example of cronyism in practice. The Illinois Arts Council Agency, which as you can tell by its name, is a state agency and it is a recipient of National Endowment for the Arts cash. It was founded in 1965, which not coincidentally, was when the NEA began. The chair of the Illinois Arts Council Agency is Shirley Madigan, the wife of state House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Boss Michael Madigan. Their daughter is Lisa Madigan, Illinois’ attorney general.
The Illinois Arts Council Agency boasts that nearly 100 percent of the state’s legislative districts receives some IACA funding. It’s all about spreading the wealth around. As for those legislative districts, the geographic contortion created by Michael Madigan’s gerrymandering just might be worthy enough to be put on display at the Art Institute of Chicago adjacent to those Pollock-esque state budgets, but that’s another matter.
The NEA and the NEH also operates under the same spread-the-favors-around–I mean wealth, mindset–which is why defenders of these groups cite federal funding for events such as the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nevada and the Hip Hop Initiative in North Carolina as justification for these agencies.
The NEH provided funding for Ken Burns’ acclaimed 1990 Civil War documentary that was broadcast on PBS, which is another success boasted by supporters of the NEH. Oh, Trump’s budget wants to eliminate for that network as well as NPR. Have you seen Burns’ Civil War? It’s fabulous. But what of the money for sales of Ken Burns’ Civil War book, or the Civil War DVDs and CDs? Or Civil War digital downloads? How much does the federal government get from those sales?
How much does Ken Burns collect?
Sure, NEA and NEH funding is a very small piece of federal spending–$148 million is the expenditure for this year. But proper budgeting means saying “No” a lot. America is wealthy–but not infinitely so.
Magritte’s word-image paintings are treatises on the impossibility of reconciling words, images, and objects. La Trahison des images challenges the linguistic convention of identifying an image of something as the thing itself. At first, Magritte’s point appears simplistic, almost to the point of provocation: A painting of a pipe is not the pipe itself. In fact, this work is highly paradoxical. Its realistic style and caption format recall advertising, a field in which Magritte had worked. Advertisements, however, elicit recognition without hesitation or equivocation; this painting causes the viewer to ponder its conflicting messages.
I emphasize “this painting causes the viewer to ponder its conflicting messages,” because now, in our politically correct times, we are challenged to do exactly the opposite: To ignore conflicting messages, ponder nothing, and instead to blindly accept pernicious behavior for the sake of diversity.
For the multi-culti enlightened Liberal, any of us who are appalled/revulsed/disgusted at the spectacle, are bigoted, anti-LGBT homophobes. As such, we are to be censored, derided, shunned, muted. Our rights to freedom of thought and expression do not exist.
A few months ago, Stuart Schniederman, of the perfectly-named Had Enough Therapy? blog, stated,
To believe that Caitlyn Jenner is all-woman is to take leave of one’s rational faculties and dispense with all concern with fact… and with freedom.
As a free woman, I will stand out and exercise my right to free expression, and not only will I say that there’s a lot very wrong with the Toronto guy and his enablers, I, like Magritte, will go on pondering the conflicting messages bombarding us.
Caecilius:Modern art. Out of the way, that’s it. Oh, Rombus, I’m a little bit peckish. Get me some ants in honey, there’s a good lad. Ooo, maybe a dormouse? What do you think? Metella:You call it modern art, I call it a blooming great waste of space.
Doctor Who: The Fires of Pompeii 2008
Let’s say it bluntly, most modern art is junk and the people who choose to buy it are suckers. A great example of it is the sculpture The Queen’s Vagina:
That’s this monstrosity is considered art is bad, that it has been placed on the incredible grounds of Versailles (which are a work of art in themselves) is an offense against aesthetics and caused some fuss at the time of its installation. That people have decided to physically attack it however is an offence against property rights.
The “sclupture” was defaced (I use the word “defaced” loosely, since it’s hard to “deface” a piece of junk) by graffiti once but was cleaned, now it is has been hit for a 2nd time:
Phrases such as “Queen sacrificed, twice insulted” and “the second rape of the nation by deviant Jewish activism” covered the sculpture by the British-Indian artist.
However in the ultimate irony Mr. Kapoor has managed to use this event to transform his piece from the joke that it is to something more.
the 61-year-old British-Indian artist told the daily Le Figaro he would not restore the work as he did the first time, and instead would keep the “abominable words” as part of the sculpture.
“I had already questioned the wisdom of cleaning it after the first vandalism. This time, I am convinced that nothing should be removed from these slurs, from these words which belong to anti-Semitism that we’d rather forget,” Kapoor said.
“From now on, in the name of our universal principles, these abominable words will become part of my work, they will overlay it and stigmatize it.”
Congratulations Mr. Kapoor, you’ve managed by this gesture to transform a piece of junk into a statement about both freedom of expression and against anti-Semitism.
I still have no respect for you as an artist, but I have tremendous respect for you as a man.
The Canadian kid goes to Bogota, Colombia, indulges in misbehavior, gets away with it, and now the locals want to, too: Justin Bieber’s visit to Bogota opened doors for Colombian graffiti artists. Well, pardon my old-fogieness, but “graffiti artist” is an oxymoron. Vandalism is what comes to mind. But, when you’re a celebrity who gets paid thousands of dollars, you get away with it,
The 19-year-old Canadian heartthrob gave a concert on an October night and then took to the streets of this capital, wearing a hoodie and spray-painting a Canadian maple leaf atop a marijuana leaf alongside a tribute to his dead hamster, Pac. It all happened under the watchful eye of the metropolitan police, whose officers served as security detail.
Now the Colombian authorities have to deal with hundreds of “street artists” doing their thing not only in Bogota, but also in Cali, Medellin and other big Colombian cities – with others in smaller cities sure to join in.
What happened next? For one, Bogota outlined sanctions for defacing public property.
And Justin, who was told that, when he returns to Colombia, he may have to give a free concert for children (so the little kids may get to see him up close as a role model?), went on to Brazil, where he spray-painted the walls of Rio de Janeiro’s Hotel Nacional:
Nearby in the city of Denver, where residents are known for their liberal leanings, residents were more receptive to the artwork.
Denver resident Carol Ware called the piece “provocative and thought-provoking.” She added, however, that she would not want the artwork in her own living room.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Los Angeles Times weighed in on the debate, celebrating Chagoya’s controversial techniques and labeling him a respected artist. Of the provocative works of art he has created are pieces attacking President George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, and former California Governor Pete Wilson.
The obvious question has been asked
Field asked if Chagoya’s artwork would be accepted if it depicted the prophet Mohammed in the same poses. “There have been examples in the past of anti-Mohammed artwork. The Muslim community has been outraged-and rightly so-but there’s also been different actions taken against the artists.”
Whenever the persecuted Christian right gets their pure white panties in a bunch about how evil libruls are disrespectful to Christianity, they frequently claim that these same libruls show deference to Islam when it comes to depicting images of Mohammed. The phrase, taken from a book, that “anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice” is bandied about by right wing Christians and Catholics. The absurdity of this position is demonstrated by the reality that the right wing, aided and abetted by Fox “News,” promotes prejudice against a number of groups deemed anathema – particularly atheists (atheist bus signs, “war on God”) and Islam. In addition to absurdity, there is also a double standard. When the evil, librul ACLU challenges a possible violation of the “Establishment Clause,” Jesus’ BFF’s claim that their First Amendment rights are being violated – yet, when artwork, that Christians don’t like, is presented, they’re all for censorship. And that’s when the comment about how liberals are more tolerant of Islam comes into play, as demonstrated by good Catholic Brian Kilmeade who, along with his Christian “friend’ Gretchen Carlson, is concerned about some artwork that their fellow good Christians are vaclempt about. It’s not a surprise that the morning Christian culture club would be “on” this issue as, earlier this year, they attacked a gallery owner over “sacrilegious” art in which a nun (not, as Gretchen Carlson said, the Virgin Mary) was depicted holding a pink rifle. There’s more irony in that this is the same krewe that supports Christian crosses on public land and bible verses on rifles. Go figure.
The big irony is of course they have a link to the site, which has now pulled the “art” since the Mohammad part of the cartoon is getting publicity. Read the self righteous comments I’ve left one of my own, not approved yet:
I note the same artwork also displays Mohammad kneeling before transvestite pigs, so I am assuming all the commentators on this tread and the writer are all cool with this too.
That being the case I presume I can send the link to American Muslim groups since we know how tolerant of dissent they are.
I’ll let you know if it goes up and if the comment thread is scrubbed.
Left a message at Shark’s ink the site that scrubbed the print once the Mohammad connection came up, I’ll let you know what they say.
Update 2: They are much too busy to allow my comments at Newshounds
Update 3 Shark Ink has not returned calls. I called the Loveland Museum and spoke to a very nice young lady who briefly informed me there is no additional security because of the drawing of Mohammad. The people taking calls are flat out and the employees are pretty occupied. I left a callback number but was told due to the situation they couldn’t guarantee it would be returned.