Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Tax Dollars At Work: More Degenerate Art At The Smithsonian Institution, Jesus Covered With Ants And Naked Men In A Liplock At The National Portrait Gallery

The taxpayer-funded Smithsonian Institution has been caught red-handed exhibiting degenerate art. On Monday November 29th, 2010, CNS News initially reported that the National Portrait Gallery, one of the component museums of the Smithsonian, was showing an exhibition that features images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, another painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as homoerotic, and a painting made with nail polish and the cremated ashes of a man with AIDS who committed suicide.

The exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” opened on October 30th and will run throughout the Christmas Season, closing on February 13th. David C. Ward, a National Portrait Gallery (NGP) historian who is also co-curator of the exhibit, disingenuously described the exhibitions as "masterpieces of American portraiture"

After the story went public, a strong popular outcry of revulsion, including condemnation from House Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R.-Ohio) and House Majority Leader-to-be Eric Cantor (R-Va.), forced the Smithsonian to backtrack. Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Rep. Boehner, said in a statement the congressman was monitoring the episode. "Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January when the new majority in the House moves to end the job-killing spree in Washington," said Smith. The Washington Post published its own review of the exhibit back on November 5th, including photos which some may find disgusting.

As a result, CNS News is now reporting that the National Portrait Gallery announced on November 30th that it will remove the video that includes images of ants swarming over Jesus Christ on a crucifix, but will keep in place the remainder of the controversial exhibit. Martin Sullivan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, said “I regret that some reports about the exhibit have created an impression that the video is intentionally sacrilegious. In fact, the artist’s intention was to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim. It was not the museum’s intention to offend. We are removing the video today.”

Note that the only thing Sullivan regretted were the "reports". He does not apologize for the exhibit itself.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) mildly objected to the exhibit, saying that while it supports “common decency” and “mutual respect", it doesn't want to promote censorship. I wonder what they would have said had it been a picture of Mohammed covered with ants. The Anti-Defamation League, which is quick to confront slights against Judaism, has not reacted to this issue. The gay media is celebrating this exhibit as "putting LGBT people in the picture".

And some people still claim there is no gay agenda. Balderdash! Homosexuality is all about sex -- first, last, and foremost, although there are some gays who live normal, monogamistic lives and who don't patronize degenerate art.

The Smithsonian first attracted serious controversy during its 1995 Enola Gay exhibit. Critics of the exhibit, especially those of the American Legion and the Air Force Association, charged that the exhibit focused too much attention on the Japanese casualties inflicted by the nuclear bomb, rather than on the motivations for the bombing or the discussion of the bomb's role in ending the World War II conflict with Japan.

The Blaze reports that the Smithsonian’s annual budget is $761 million, with $495 million being contributed by American taxpayers via federal government funds. According to a Smithsonian spokesperson, the National Portrait Gallery received $5.8 million in federal funding during fiscal year 2010, although the Smithsonian notes that taxpayer dollars are not used to pay for individual exhibits, including the “Hide/Seek” exhibit. But the latter statement is clearly disingenuous, since the facility is operated with Federal funds.

If the Smithsonian wants to get us out of our "comfort zone", the First Amendment permits them to do so. But not on the public dime. Since the Smithsonian is more interested in being "avant-garde" and "cutting edge", it's time to introduce legislation to defund them. Let them exist on private contributions alone.

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