Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the New York Times‘ reaction to art that was banned by the Guggenheim:
When the Catholic League protested a vile video exhibit at the Smithsonian in 2010 that featured large ants crawling over Jesus on a crucifix, an editorial in the New York Times said, “The Catholic League is entitled to protest.” But it strongly criticized the decision of the museum to pull the video, saying that it was giving into the “bullying” of Rep. John Boehner. It cited its support for “culturally challenging images.”
When the Catholic League protested a filthy exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999 that featured a huge portrait of Our Blessed Mother adorned with elephant dung and pictures of vaginas and anuses, an editorial in the New York Times applauded the decision of the museum to “defend artistic freedom.”
When the Catholic League protested an obscene play at the Manhattan Theatre in 1998 that featured Jesus having sex with the twelve apostles, an editorial in the New York Times cheered the performance, saying, “This is not only a land of freedom; it is a land where freedom is always contested.”
But when the Guggenheim decided to ban three exhibits that upset animal rights activists, two of which are videos—the exhibition starts today—the New York Times failed to issue an editorial defending the art. What gives?
Why is it that when Catholics are offended, the New York Times always lectures us on the need to understand that art is supposed to make us “uncomfortable.” Is it saying that the artistic community has no right to make the animal rights crowd “uncomfortable”?
Why the silence on the Guggenheim censors? We’d love to read an editorial in the New York Times that explains its reasoning.
Contact James Bennet, editorial page editor: firstname.lastname@example.org