The coming Culture Wars

Think anti-gay bullying is just for kids? Ask the Smithsonian.

That’s from LA Times critic Christopher Knight weighing in on the recent controversy in which the Smithsonian pulled David Wojnarowicz’s video from an exhibition after someone from the Catholic League complained. Subsequently, Republican representatives (who, like the Catholic League instigator, didn’t actually see the exhibit) attacked the Smithsonian and the NEA.

The merits of art–especially contemporary art that does not conform to traditional/conservative tastes or ideals of beauty–ought to be discussed and debated, not censored. By bowing to religious right pressure, the Smithsonian thought it might be playing it safe, but it showed how easily it capitulates. Homophobia is so not cool. And capitalizing on religious backlash to slash the NEA is so tired. Get over yourselves.

Cheers to Blake Gopnik and the Washington Post for their fearless coverage (afflicting the comfortable!) and alternative art space Transformer Gallery in DC and LA gallery CB1 for exhibiting the Wojnarowicz video in question.