Well, well, well. We here at Chesterton and Friends can’t take complete credit for the Smithsonian pulling part of their exhibit but we were part of the solution or maybe not. But they pulled it non-the-less.
Here is the release from the Catholic League.
"The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery has pulled the video, "A Fire in My Belly," that the Catholic League objected to earlier today; it shows large ants eating away at Jesus on a crucifix. Commenting on this development is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:
Our immediate concerns have been relieved, though it is a sad commentary on the judgment exercised by Smithsonian officials that it took a pressure group like the Catholic League to send them a wake-up call. Quite frankly, had common decency prevailed from the beginning, they would never have insulted Christians with this vile display.
The larger issue is still on the table: why should the federal government underwrite an institution that uses money to bash Christians, when it is unconstitutional for the federal government to underwrite the promotion of it? That is why the letter I sent today to the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees stands—they need to reconsider the propriety of funding the Smithsonian Institution.
One more thing. To say that it was the artist's intention to show the suffering of AIDS victims—and not to offend Christians—is unpersuasive. Let them next invite an artist to put their bugs on an image of Muhammad and then explain to Muslims that they never meant to offend them."
The video in question can be seen here. Setting aside the "message" of this piece (if any) it must be mentioned that this is an awful work. It is Sophomoric at best and definitely self indulgent. Truly I have worked with 15 and 16 year old students that have done better work in technique, content and dramatic presentation. This piece could have fit into any movie that was spoofing modern art and we would have laughed but this artist was serious. It amazed me that this piece of dog squeeze made it to any gallery. It says more of the loss of the truth, beauty, and the sacredness of man of the gallery owners than of the artists. They are after all the gatekeepers.
It also tells us what can happen when any government throws money at artists and says, "Go ahead make something - doesn't matter what - we just need to use all our budget".
Just one more reason why I no longer visit galleries. Depression often comes uninvited why should I call it in and invite it to tea.
"A miraculous world"
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