Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on artwork found offensive by some liberals in Minneapolis and New York City:
When the Catholic League objects to anti-Catholic art, we are routinely labeled censors by the artistic community, but when some of their liberal colleagues object to art that offends them—such as treating lizards “inhumanely”—there is little outrage, and no name calling. Indeed, even when real threats of violence are made, the grand defenders of artistic expression refuse to sound the alarms.
Where is the outrage by the media, the artistic community, and free speech activists over the Guggenheim’s decision to nix three works from an exhibition that is set to open on October 6? Where is the outrage over the Walker Art Center’s decision to dismantle a sculpture erected in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden?
Animal rights zealots took aim at the Guggenheim for showcasing three works as part of its exhibition, “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World.” Indian tribal activists took aim at the Walker Art Center for displaying “Scaffold,” a two-story structure by Sam Durant that depicted seven executions, including the hanging of 38 Dakota Indian men in Minnesota after 1862.
The first artwork banned by the Guggenheim is a video showing four pairs of pit bulls on nonmotorized treadmills; they are portrayed as charging at each other, though they never touch. There is a second video that shows two pigs copulating in front of a live audience. The third work is an installation—considered the real gem by the New York Times—that features hundreds of live lizards, crickets, and other reptiles and insects racing around eating each other under a warming lamp.
Over the summer, Indian leaders—not rank-and-file Indians—were up in arms over the Minneapolis exhibit. Not surprisingly, they were not consulted by the diversity dons at the Walker Art Center (white liberals never believe their own rules apply to them) which is one reason the Indians objected; they also said it brought back bad memories. In the end, they got more than what they wanted: The installation was not only dismantled, the newly sensitized white liberals recycled the steel from the structure and the wood was given to the Dakotas for “burial.”
The ASPCA and PETA were furious with the Guggenheim, as was entertainer Ricky Gervais. They should not be so self-righteous.
From 1894 to 1994, the ASPCA in New York City killed virtually all the unadopted pets in its care. More recently, its passion for animal rights led it to smear Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, accusing it of animal cruelty. The charges were false: In 2012 the ASPCA was forced to pay Ringling Bros. $9.3 million in a settlement.
PETA kills almost all the cats and dogs in its possession. In fact, it kills 95 percent of adoptable pets in its care. Yet its leader, Ingrid Newkirk, maintains it is unethical to swat mosquitoes. She is also known for cheapening the Holocaust: “Six million Jews died in concentration camps,” she told the Washington Post, “but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughter houses.”
Gervais will go to the mat to protect the life of animals, just so long as they are not human. There is not an animal rights cause he will not champion, nor is there a pro-abortion cause he will not support. For example, when Texas state senator Wendy Davis conducted a filibuster protesting abortion restrictions, Gervais said it secured her place in “the pantheon of American heroes.”
Though these big name activists were quite vocal in expressing their displeasure with the Guggenheim, what made the famous museum buckle was not advocacy, it was the threat of violence. “Explicit and repeated threats of violence made our decision necessary,” the Guggenheim said.
Look for more on this story in coming days.