Just an Exhibit, an Insult, or Something Else?

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Up front, The Pink Flamingo disapproves of the Hide/Seek exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, but for reasons that no one is bothering to mention.  And – it has NOTHING to do with the subject of the exhibit.

From what I can tell neither side is being honest about the exhibit – and that’s the real problem. The far right is lying through their teeth about it, and the left is not being very honest, either.

But first….

The Pink Flamingo is getting sick and tired of the anti-gay hysteria promoted by the Ron Paul Bot John Bircher Tea Party “patriots”.   They are beginning to sound like the Fred Phelps bunch.  Please, tell me how being a homosexual is any worse than being a liar, committing adultery, stealing, slandering RINOs?

There is an increasingly strident anti-gay message coming out of the far right.  The far right has always had this hate/hate relationship with gays.  According to my friend Leroy, most who are seriously anti-gay to the point of being strange about it are usually so far back in the closet that it is sad.  I think he is probably right.  On things of this nature I do not argue with Leroy.

I have learned a lot from him.  I’ve learned not to condemn a homosexual couple who are in a very-long term (33 years for him) relationship.  He and his partner are devoted to one another.  I don’t think they could exist without the other.  They have been a couple since they were growing up, with their relationship fully accepted by their family.  They are also regular church goers.  They profess to have accepted Christ in their lives.  They are among the first to ask for and offer prayer.  You see, my friends profess a love of Christ.  I know He loves them.  Based on everything I have seen in their lives, I suspect they love Him as much as any heterosexual couple.   If you condemn their relationship with Christ simply based on the fact that they are gay, then I am far more worried about your understanding of Christ’s love.

After getting to know my friends, I will never again condemn a committed gay couple.  But, I will say the same thing about a cheap gay slut sleep-around that I would a female slut shack up tramp.  There is no difference.  A slut is a slut no matter what the gender.

If you read the Bible (and I am beginning to wonder if these people ever do) they might find that there is no difference in the sins.  I guess that makes the gay artist who is annoying the far right just the same as Mark Sanford, or Glenn Beck (who habitually lies) or the Ron Paul Bot John Birchers who do nothing but slander decent Republicans who do not scrape and bow to them.

So,once again the far right has its panties in a wad this time over an exhibit of homo-erotic art at the National Portrait Gallery.  It is part of the Smithsonian system, but it is a separate building (you idiots). The funding is also private.  Then again, the far right has a tendency to be seen as museum haters and culture haters, and have a tendency to act like it – or that is how it will be portrayed.

The far right is screaming about a photo of Ellen DeGeneres as if it were created for the exhibit.  As usual they come across as fools.  I can’t show the photo because of the copyright.

Do you even know who Annie Leibovitz is?  She is one of the finest portrait photographers EVER. The photo was taken in 1998.

From the WPost Review comes the usual pile of tripe trying to make sense of something.  This is the part that I find rather incredulous.

“…Even Wyeth, though apparently straight as they come, couldn’t resist the appeal of a beautiful man conceived as an object of lust. In 1979, when Wyeth was 62, he painted a picture of an athletic young neighbor standing naked in a clearing, arms on unclothed hips and with his blond hair blowing in the wind. This is not a tasteful, artified nude, on the model of Michelangelo’s “David.” It is fully, impressively frontal, indistinguishable from the kind of corny gay cheesecake we could never run in this paper. And it’s that censor-baiting force that clearly made it worth painting for Wyeth — and worth looking at for all the rest of us.

Those of us who happen to be straight almost have to envy how much force builds up in gay sex and yearning. Unless you’re pretty out-there in your tastes (and even then) straight sex and sexuality is inevitably banal, just by virtue of its dominance; dwelling on it almost always leads to cliche. “Guy Wants Girl,” however true and important, always risks becoming the artistic equivalent of “Dog Bites Man.” Homosexuality, on the other hand, has almost always mattered so much, as a risky and risque social fact, that it has been worth dwelling on, turning over — making art about….”

Obviously the person doing the review knows nothing about Andrew Wyeth and his extremely heterosexual approach to life – very heterosexual.  In other words, the art world was trying to make something of a really bad exhibit even before the far right was involved – by reviewing art that isn’t even in the exhibit! Correction:  The Wyeth piece is in the show.

They are screaming about a VIDEO.  Not an actual standing piece of art, but a VIDEO, which has been removed.   It is a VIDEO.  Get over it.  I think it is repulsive.  What’s the point?  The video was made nearly 20 years ago.

“…The video, “A Fire in My Belly,” is included in the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit titled, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” which is scheduled to run through the Christmas season.

National Portrait Gallery historian and exhibit co-curator David C. Ward told CNSNews.com, which first reported the story, that “A Fire in My Belly” reflects the “violent, disturbing and hallucinatory” aspects of the AIDS epidemic. …”

Contrary to the falsehood being told about this is as Christmas exhibit:

“...Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, said, “This exhibition is a direct assault on Christianity and the timing – the Christmas season! – shows how offensive it is intended to be. This federally funded vulgarity by the Smithsonian Institution must come to an end immediately. How dare anyone use a federal facility – The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery no less – to exhibit such obscene materials …

“We are also calling on Congress to launch a full investigation into the approval process of the Hide/Seek exhibit…”

I did not know the Christmas Season extended from Halloween to Valentine’s Day.  Once again Bozell is making a fool of himself.  The problem is the people who slobber all over themselves about his sort of prevarication don’t really care about factual accuracy.  It is a seasonal thing.  There are other exhibits going on at the same time so it’s not about insulting Christians.

National Portrait Gallery

According to CNS News

“…The Smithsonian Institution has an annual budget of $761 million, 65 percent of which comes from the federal government, according to Linda St. Thomas, the Smithsonian’s chief spokesperson. The National Portrait Gallery itself received $5.8 million in federal funding in fiscal year 2010, according to St. Thomas. It also received $5.8 million in federal funding in fiscal 2009, according to the museum’s annual report. The gallery’s overall funding in that year was $8 million.

St. Thomas told CNSNews.com that federal funds are not used to pay for Smithsonian exhibits themselves, including the “Hide/Seek” exhibit. The federal funds received by the Smithsonian, she said, pay for the buildings, the care of collections exhibited at Smithsonian venues, and museum staff, including the salaries for curators of exhibits. The exhibits presented at Smithsonian museums, including “Hide/Seek,” are funded by donations from individuals or institutions. Among the donors who provided support for the “Hide/Seek” exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery are The Calamus Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The John Burton Harter Charitable Foundation, and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

National Portrait Gallery

Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute and a former senior economist on the congressional Joint Economic Committee, told CNSNews.com, “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.”…”

First, I’m so sick of the damn LIBERTARIAN Cato Institute (what, they have morals all of a sudden).

So, everyone is suddenly screaming about the fact that tax-payer money is being wasted.

National Portrait Gallery

My mother’s comment about all the anti-gay condemnation going on is quite simple.  Did Christ condemn the sinner.  He loved the sinner, but he condemned the sin.  He gave them every chance to repent.

You don’t condemn a person, you PRAY for their Salvation.

Christ did not condemn those who crucified Him.  Instead, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

(Just like I need to do for people like Hannity, etc. who are pathetically ignorant and then lie about it).

I find it ironic that the Cato Institute, who doesn’t care about morality is complaining – but then it is “taxpayer” money.  The tea party “patriots” are up in arms because of the spending of THEIR MONEY on such a gay exhibit.

Is one problem with their view of the world.  Statistics tell us that 10% of the people in this country are gay.  That’s a good 30 million “folks” if those numbers are true.  As far as The Pink Flamingo can tell there are less than a half million “real” tea partiers, even though FOX keeps shoving them down our throats.

In other words, there are a heck of a lot more gays paying their taxes (and they have a tendency to pay more taxes because of their economic status) than there are tea partiers.  Seems to me they have a right to have their views represented. Then again, the Tea Party types don’t really give a rip about the Constitution.

MY OBJECTION TO THE EXHIBIT

I think someone “leaked” the whole story in order to gin up foot traffic for the exhibit.  If you go though the catalog, you might notice how abjectly dull the whole thing is.

What I do not approve of is the Family & Friend’s Day where erotic art is made available to children.  THIS is WRONG.  The exhibit should have an “X” rating in that anyone under 18 years of age should be kept out of it – not because of the subject matter but the way it is presented.  From what I can tell from the Amazon version of the catalog there are a few extremely explicit images that just don’t belong in the National Portrait Gallery.

Please remember that it is at the National Portrait Gallery….

CNS News

When something is in a part of the Smithsonian complex, it should be available for EVERYONE of all ages.

Where the Hide/Seek exhibit is so very wrong is in the fact that, if CNS is to be believed, there are some very explicit images in the collection.  The online version of the catalog shows an exhibit that is pathetically dull and not worth viewing.  The Amazon version is something else, entirely.

I don’t care if the exhibit is in a city museum with federal money – as long as the images are not pornographic.  Unfortunately there are several images I saw in the Amazon version of the catalog that could be considered just that.

If there was not a large collection of images it would not be as bad.  I could care less if a nude is exhibited in the Smithsonian complex.  I don’t even care if it is not “tasteful”.  I don’t care if there is a piece here or a piece there.  BUT – when presented in a large scale collection, one after another, it does something, I just don’t think is quite the thing – for anyone under the age of 18 and some well meaning conservatives who probably need to spend some quality time in the exhibit.

Would I go to see it?

Probably not.

Would I censor it?

No.

I don’t even think the video that everyone complained about should have been removed from the exhibit.  Then again, I don’t think the exhibit needs to be where it is available for children to see it.  Put it somewhere else and go with it.  Put it in the Guggenheim, the High, Chicago Art Institute, the Brooks, Chicago Museum of Art, put it anywhere in San Francisco, LA, Phoenix, etc. just don’t put it in the Smithsonian complex there on the National Mall.

It is tawdry.

Do I mind nude art?

Not at all.

I don’t even mind bad nudes.

I am far from a prude.

But, there is a time and a place.  I am far too concerned about the sexual exploitation of our children to approve of this sort of an exhibit being in a local where they are free to roam through it.  If they are “carded’ fine.  If not, it has no place where it is.  There is this tacit understanding that We The People don’t mind exposing everyone to this sort of thing.

I just don’t want to be hit in the face with such a dreadful exhibit that is such an emotional “downer”.  In many ways it is tragic.  There is one photograph in the exhibit that was made of a man three hours after he had died – of AIDS.  It looked like some sort of bad abstract art the poor thing was so debilitated.

If you have any compassion, such a photo grabs at you.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve known far too many people who have died of that terrible disease.  It is a vile disease.  From the images I saw in the catalog this exhibit is almost a betrayal of their lives.  It doesn’t elevate.

On Hannity last night, I heard some woman mention that liberals like art.  Evidently we conservatives don’t like art?  I don’t know about you, but this is one conservative who loves art.  I learned from my mother, who learned from her aunt, who reflected her great-grandmother’s love of the arts.  I collect art.  I invest in art.

I gather the only art conservatives must like is a crass plastic reproduction of Glenn Beck as one of the fife and drummers in that classic painting, or of John Wayne, or a collector plate of Ronald Reagan. That may be what “conservatives” are allowed to have as ‘art, but not this conservative.   I even have two paintings that have been exhibited at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.  In fact, the Smithsonian approached the artist to purchase them.  The artist (a very good friend) sold them to me, instead.  (They were space/science fiction with a nude dinosaur in one).

For the record I don’t have any nudes.  The simple reason is the fact that I like nudes that are “unfinished” pencil and watercolor sketches.  They are very difficult to find.  I am still annoyed about the one I purchased – and the guy finished it, ruining it.  I sent it back to him.

I enjoy going to exhibitions where I can drool and mutter how I wish I had “that”.  I saw nothing in the catalog I wanted. The quality just wasn’t there.  The “art” chosen for this exhibit is just plan lousy.

And so, once again, we are faced with the usual conservative suspects making fools of themselves.  If they has just shut up about it, no one would have seen the durn exhibit.  But, by over-reacting, it is now going to be all the thing.  Do these people ever tire of being played for fools?

That’s what gets me.

The moment I arrive in DC, I head for the Air and Space Museum to go through their gallery.  When I see the word “Smithsonian” I was Norman Rockwell, Robert McCall, Doug Chaffee.  I don’t want third rate art that would only be seen in some second rate gallery.   I also don’t want anything a school kid could not see.

I’ve seen too many groups of kids touring the museums there.  I don’t mind the gay theme.  I do mind the quality and almost pornographic nature of the art that is readily available in an exhibit that is open to children.

Sorry, that is immoral.  If this same Hide/Seek were in Las Vegas, exhibited in public,  it would be illegal.  Because it is at the Smithsonian’s complex, it has the “good housekeeping seal” on it.  As a Christian, I could care less.  It doesn’t insult my faith.  That is a very stupid argument made by very little people with nothing in their heads but the fact that “they” have been insulted.   I am adult and mature enough to know it was not planned to destroy the “Christmas season”.  I know it fit their calendar.  I also know someone went out of their way to try and shove inappropriate images down the throat of children.

That is what angers me.

Funny how none of our good conservative “Christians” have even mentioned this.

Guess they have other priorities.

The only conservative I’ve heard hit the pornographic nail is Michael Medved.

THE CURATOR

The guest curator of this exhibit is Jonathan David Katz.  He is an in your face gay activist.

“…Jonathan David Katz is the former executive coordinator of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University. He is a former chair of the Department of Lesbian and Gay studies at the City College of San Francisco, and was the first tenured faculty in gay and lesbian studies in the United States. Katz was an associate professor in the Art History Department at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he also taught queer studies. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1996.

Katz is the founder of the Harvey Milk Institute, the largest queer studies institute in the world, and the Queer Caucus for Art of the College Art Association.

Katz co-founded Queer Nation San Francisco. He has made scholarly contributions to queer studies the focus of his professional career. He was the first artistic director of the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco and has published widely in the United States and Europe.

His forthcoming book, The Homosexualization of American Art: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and the Collective Closet, will be published by the University of Chicago Press.An internationally recognized expert in queer postwar American art, Katz has recently published “Jasper Johns’ Alley Oop: On Comic Strips and Camouflage” in Schwule Bildwelten im 20. Jahrhundert, edited by Thomas Roeske, and “The Silent Camp: Queer Resistance and the Rise of Pop Art,” in Plop! Goes the World, edited by Serge Guilbaut…”

This is NOT about gay.  This is about a rather trashy individual who is trying to push his version of life on mainstream culture.   He is a gay activist.

My questions is who hired him?

New York Magazine

“…At first, the newly renovated Harvey Milk High School made headlines chiefly for the crimes committed by its students. In the school’s debut semester alone, three students were arrested after a Brooklyn man was stabbed with a screwdriver at a nearby Starbucks, and four transgender students and one member of the after-school program were arrested on charges of impersonating undercover police officers and shaking down johns whom they’d lured into fake assignations—incidents that school officials blamed, partly, on the growing pains associated with a school that, within six weeks, had gone from a three-teacher GED-granting institution serving 40 students to a full-fledged public high school serving 100 students, with a new faculty of seven teachers, a principal, a new physical plant, and a new curriculum. But the tabloids had a field day portraying the school as an out-of-control collection of fashion-mad, transsexual juvenile delinquents and streetwalkers who channeled their illegal profits into buying sprees at Dolce & Gabbana. HMI’s Mensah does not deny that much of the student population does indeed belong to such at-risk groups—which is precisely why, he says, the Harvey Milk safety net is needed—but he says that the trial-by-tabloid was largely the result of discrimination. “All kids get in trouble,” he says. “They act crazy sometimes. But any time these kids got in trouble, it ended up in the paper.”…”

I am not going to link to some of the material I have found about Katz.  These people have only one thing on the mind.  This man is not your nice gay friend, this is a person who lives the pornographic life.

“…“San Francisco: The Making of a Queer Mecca” is an exhibit of early photography by the longtime chronicler of gay life Rink Foto, plus a collection of rarely seen photos by the late Harvey Milk, who was a Castro Street camera shop owner prior to his success in politics.

The exhibit, curated by Julia Haas with the assistance of art historian and queer studies scholar Jonathan David Katz, draws on just a fraction of Foto’s nearly half-million images. Like Cartier-Bresson, Foto has a gift for being there at the right moment, to catch both the action and the image rich enough, dense enough, and strange enough to tell a complex story without words….”

The next question:  Who hired this man?

The Daily Beast

Evidently this show is part of something Katz has worked on in the past, and was booted from Yale for doing.

“…Yes, I came to see this and this big deal activist came to see that he was powerless. I apologize to you. I bore witness to all this. I bore witness to the fact that the university was ridding itself of a teacher, Jonathan David Katz, who was exceptionally loved and admired. The kids stood up and cheered him nonstop with tears in their eyes. “He is the best teacher I have ever had for anything, period,” is a direct quote from one young man. On his last day at Yale, Jonathan somehow managed to get the Yale Art Gallery to remove from storage, for this one day, work by the following artists: Homer, Eakins, Sargent, Bellows, Demuth, Hartley, O’Keefe, Rauschenberg, Johns, Twombley, Nevelson, Martin, Indiana, Morris, and Warhol. Jonathan lectured in the Art Gallery to a packed house about why he considers each of these great American artists gay and how this is reflected in their work. I had brought one of the heads of the Phillips Collection in Washington. “What a brilliant piece of scholarship,” she said. This event, also, did not go down well somewhere in the murky invisible inner sanctums of Yale’s Soviet-style bureaucracy. Yale was getting rid of the only faculty member teaching the kind of gay history that I longed for and I was powerless to help rectify this great mistake. Yes, this famous big deal loudmouth activist apologizes to you, and to Jonathan. My lover, David, says I did not sit on the nest enough. I did not become enough of the Larry Kramer they were afraid of….”

Who arranged for one of the most visible gay activists to do this exhibit?  I think that is the real story.

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3 thoughts on “Just an Exhibit, an Insult, or Something Else?

  1. Sometimes I think the far right is stuck in their own little cocoons. A museum exhibit does not always seem in good taste, but accept it for what it is. The trash usually does not last very long. The largest display of nudity I’ve ever seen is in the Louvre. A close second are the art galleries of Florence and even the Vatican. I personally don’t think all of these art works are in good taste, but they have stood the test of time. I wonder what the far right would think of the murals of Pompeii, particularly those in the brothels? Homosexuality was rampant in the ancient world. Like heterosexuals, homosexuals are not always sexually active, so where is the sin? The far right likes to brand as an aberration anyone who has never been married, particularly if the person happens to be a man. This is grossly unfair. I’ve known married people, who have homosexual affairs on the side. Like it or not homosexuality is a fact of life. This is not my lifestyle, but I don’t judge for the simple reason that I am not God. It is really none of my business. Morals are one’s own business, manners are everybody else’s.

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