This story, worth your time to read in its entirety, has been making its way around the conservative blogosphere:
You don’t have to be an art critic to see something tasteless going on at Pratt Institute. Since 1887, this venerable New York institution
has been dedicated to educating “artists and creative professionals to
be responsible contributors to society.” Yet teachers and administrators
at Pratt have been nothing but irresponsible in their recent dealings
with a fifth-year drawing student named Steve DeQuattro.
… As part of his recent work, Mr. DeQuattro has
designed a cereal-box-like sculpture that he calls, ironically,
“Sustainable Liberalism in a Box”. He
has developed a piece that takes the ubiquitous Apple iPod ad campaign
to address abortion. He has designed a sobering five-foot-wide mural
that tracks the Democratic Party’s record on race, from Jefferson’s
slave-holding days up through the racially charged speeches of Senator
Robert Byrd and Vice President Joe Biden.
a senior in the school, Mr. DeQuattro has been working on this art in
preparation for a group show for Pratt’s graduating students, which is
scheduled to open on April 23. While his faculty advisor has been
supporting him, his peers have not. Mr. DeQuattro says they recently
wrote a letter to his professors, calling his work “offensive” and
complaining about exhibiting alongside him. Last week, the chair of the
fine arts department stepped in to prevent Mr. DeQuattro’s participation
alongside the other students in the group show–an unprecedented move
in the history of the department, says Mr. DeQuattro, despite the fact
that none of his work is pornographic, libelous, or in violation of the
laws of free speech. Mr. DeQuattro’s advisor did not return a request
This is the graphic from “Liberalism in a Box” (click to enlarge). Get this man an NEA grant, pronto. What? “Good Art” is supposed to be jarring, unsettling, and offensive, isn’t it? And judging from how incensed and offended the other studens were by DeQuattro’s stuff, I’d say he’s a damn good artist.
Maybe I’ve misunderstood this whole ‘art’ thing, but haven’t we been taught that when brave, cutting edge artists were spraying liquified elephant poop and pasting photos cut from porn magazines on a portrait of the Virgin Mary, or dunking a crucifix in a jar of urine, or sculpting a nude crucified Jesus out of milk chocolate, they were doing all of us a favor by exposing the very corrupting powers that kept Western Civilization crushed under the cruel oppression of the rich and powerful and their evil systems of colonialization, capitalism, and organized religion?
Anyway, if you were offended by their ‘art’ it was because you were either: 1) benefiting from the domination system of racism, homophobia, patriarchy, colonialism, and religious intolerance and therefore were hopelessly evil, or 2) blinded by the corrupting influence of the hopelessly evil, and therefore too hopelessly stupid and ignorant to ever understand how ‘art’ was trying to liberate you. Or something like that. I’m awfully confused these days.
So I guess the question is, are the people who are offended by DeQuattro’s art really offended because they are benefiting from the cult of liberalism and its closed-minded, class-differentiated, elitist, self-credentialed exclusionism? Are they offended because they know they will suffer if they are shaken out of their ivory towers or deprived of their precious government endowments and subsidies? That being the case, isn’t DeQuattro really doing them a favor by rattling their cages a little bit, and perhaps giving them a much needed dose of reality? Or has he simply exposed them as a bunch of spoiled, humorless, thin-skinned prigs who richly deserved to be mocked?
I’m just askin’ …