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November 30, 2010

Smithsonian's Christmastime Shrine to Depravity

Posted by Dave Blount at November 30, 2010 10:40 AM

Let's see what our tax dollar is buying at the Smithsonian Institution's Christmastime exhibit:

The federally funded National Portrait Gallery, one of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently showing an exhibition that features images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as "homoerotic."
The exhibit, "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," opened on Oct. 30 [Devil's Night, appropriately] and will run throughout the Christmas Season, closing on Feb. 13.

Hide/Seek is the most expensive exhibit in the history of the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. It includes not only pictures but videos:

"The Pink Narcissus" is a video released in 1971 by James Bidgood (b. 1933). The National Portrait Gallery's description for the video says, "The film is a surreal portrait of the youth's emergence into gay life, his coming out symbolized by the metaphor of a caterpillar's metamorphosis into a butterfly."

This one not only praises homosexual depravity, but blames Christianity for the horrific diseases it spreads:

"A Fire in My Belly" was created by David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992). … The description speaks of the video artist's "poetic, yet furious, condemnation of the way greed, religion, and selfishness conspire to label certain people as outside the scope of our caring." It also quotes Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS, as saying, "When I was told I'd contracted the virus, it didn't take long for me to realize that I'd contracted a diseased society as well."

Our society has contracted a disease, all right.

The four-minute version of the video shown in the exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery shows, among other images, ants crawling over the image of Jesus on a crucifix, two halves of a loaf of bread being sewn together, the bloody mouth of a man being sewn shut, a hand dropping coins, a man undressing, a man's genitals, a bowl of blood, and mummified humans.
A differently edited four-minute version of Wojnarowicz's "A Fire in My Belly" video posted on YouTube shows images of ants crawling over the image of Jesus (as does the version exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery), but also shows a man masturbating (an image which is not included in the edited version exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, which only shows a man's genitals.).

At least tourists and taxpayers are spared the masturbation scene. Some background on the artist our rulers see fit to use our money to promote:

The Smithsonian-published catalog also notes (p. 54) that "Wojnarowicz earned a reputation for public, and for many, an utterly cathartic, portrait of rage." It then quotes a passage from Wojnarowicz's 1991 book, Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, in which the artist writes of daydreaming about shooting darts dipped in HIV-positive blood into the necks of politicians and expresses his enmity for "walking swastikas that wear religious garments."

A Christian lifestyle would have spared Wojnarowicz from his wretched and shameful death. But it wouldn't have gotten him into the Smithsonian.

Paintings are featured too, including one by Jerome Caja, described here by the Smithsonian catalogue:

"Broadly modeled on Goya's dystopian Saturn Devouring His Children, Caja's painting depicts his friend and muse Charles Sexton engaged in an act of self-cannibalism. Literally painted on Sexton's ashes after his death from AIDS, Charles Devouring Himself, like Caja's Bozo F---s Death, an image of a heavyset clown engaged in anal intercourse with a grinning skeleton, hit that sweet spot, so often historically associated with drag queens, between pathos and aggression."

In case homosexuality, blasphemy, necrophilia, and the desecration of human remains aren't enough to titillate liberals, incest is added to the mix in a photograph of brothers exchanging a "passionate kiss." For added zest, the infamous Robert Mapplethorpe contributes his trademark sadomasochism in a photograph entitled "Brian Ridley and Lyle Heeter":

"In this playful inversion of the classic family photograph, leather-clad Brian Ridley sits in an ornate wingback chair, chained and shackled to his dominant, horsewhip-wielding partner, Lyle Heeter," says the National Portrait Gallery's description of this Mapplethorpe photo.
"Far from submissive, Ridley's wide-legged stance, upright posture, and direct address to the camera indicate that he willingly acts out his chosen sadomasochistic role," says the description. "The machismo of the couple's leather gear is undercut by the flamboyance of their living room--replete with an Oriental rug, pewter vases, sculpted lamp and clock, and grasscloth wall covering. That this homosexual S&M ritual takes place in the context of the couple's 'normal' life (which also includes antique collecting) powerfully challenges what it means to be a 'normal' or 'domestic' couple."

In the end, the Culture War is all about politics, as the Smithsonian makes clear in its description of
"O'Hara Nude With Boots" by Larry Rivers:

"O'Hara mirrors the seductive pose of the modern pinup and a classical goddess, bridging myth and art history," says the description. "While referencing grand-manner painting in the grandeur of the pose, by showing O'Hara posed outdoors, Rivers alludes to O'Hara's poetical and personal celebration of cruising for sex in the city. The double meanings shown in Rivers's painting echo O'Hara's enjoyment of masks and masquerade. This overtly homoerotic work was an act of personal courage in the cultural climate of the 1950s, a climate in which the repression of gays was as severe as that of political dissidents."

Not only perverts were oppressed in the awful age of all-American wholesomeness. Communists were too. But the sickos and commies have the whip hand now, as this repugnant collection of filth celebrates.

Sixty-five percent of the Smithsonian's budget is provided by the Federal Government. That is, the money is stolen from the very people in whose faces it is spitting with this obscene exhibit.

On a tip from Jimbo.