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05 April 2011 @ 09:36 am
Crazy/Not Crazy  
It seems that a Gauguin painting exhibited at the National Gallery of Art of in Washington, D.C. was attacked Friday. Good News first: the painting was unharmed (which is good, as it's valued at $80 million!) due to a Plexiglas shield. Only the frame and wall fixture was broken, less than $200 bucks in damage.

The woman who did it, who already has a history of past changes, seemed to be deranged, claiming that she was a member of "the American CIA" (as opposed to that Mongolian CIA you hear so much about), that she has a radio in her head, and that she was going to kill the investigator that questioned her later. So, I guess that's Good News number 2: isolated crazy attack, not motivated sane individual.

However, it's the rest of her comments that lead me to the Bad News. Why did she do it? Quote: "I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned." Now, we may have established that this person is, say, a little off the side of sane, but this is the kind of sentiment shared by a huge load of people, people who are making policy and dictating what you can and cannot see, do, and experience. True, the painting (Two Tahitian Women, feel free to Google it, the breasts make it NSFW, but the fact that it's fine art might get you off the hook as long as you don't start drooling) depicts two women; one is bare-breasted, the other has a blue cloth covering one breast. That's it. Two women, standing there, and you can see breasts.

Some people might say that there are two figures there, with no depiction of attraction, action, or implication. Others might see it as a big flashing billboard saying "YOU SHOULD BE GAY. EVERYONE SHOULD BE GAY. GAY IS THE BEST." Which is right? That is a matter of opinion, based on your feeling towards skin/nudity, your own social mores and upbringing, etc. How exactly can you make your opinion, though, if you have been left out of the loop of experience? Also, is your experience any more valid than anyone else's? The answer is that you can't, and it isn't. I know I could get some flack here from a section of people that will say "So, are you saying you should just let the children see/do whatever they want? Think of the children!" I am. It is a parent's job to teach a child, give them direction, but you can help them be intelligent and make informed decisions based on rational thinking, or you can raise them to be drones who either never question or feel they have the right to tell everyone else what to do.

Just keep that in mind, both when you decide on something and when you elect those that make decisions for you. Grow the fuck up.
oddballoddball79 on April 5th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
There's a reason why someone telling me "think of the children!" (or similar) will cause a knee jerk reaction to oppose whatever they're wanting.
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Rollarchmage on April 5th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
For me, it's like making a Nazi comment. At that point, I pretty much tune you out.
Ursula Messerschmitt: Sex-BTPsnobahr on April 5th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
When I see that painting, I see two women pausing in their day to pose for the artist, and the woman with the blue fabric is giving snarky comments to the woman with the watermelon. Sure, they have breasts, but Teh Boobeez aren't what kept my attention. It was their imagined running commentary about Gauguin. Their body language says (to me), "Geez, is this going to take call freakin' day? I have laundry on the line and dinner to get prepped. Oh, and this is Tahiti, so there's Fun Tropical Shit™ that needs doing..."
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Rollarchmage on April 5th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
If you see sex in everything, aren't YOU the one that's obsessed with sex? Funny, then, that the ones that feel the need to point it out and who see it in every little things are the ones that are most vocal about being against it...and tend to have the largest number of their side caught in sex scandals.
Bellybellybalt on April 5th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
That lady makes me laugh. If she only knew what a huckster Gauguin was, maybe she would change her mind and not take the painting so seriously. She should also take a look at The Yellow Christ and THEn speak about how unreligious he was. But then again, she IS crazy.

Art is SUPPOSED to challenge your perceptions of things. They can't all be Thomas Kinkade sentimental sap, or hotel-room paintings that do nothing but look pretty.
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Rollarchmage on April 5th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
And thank $deity they aren't all that way.
Chrisclipdude on April 5th, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
Maybe the painting is not suitable for children.* But why must everything be suitable for children? There are topics our society must address--sometimes through art--that aren't kid-friendly. The idea that everything should be kid-friendly, that everyone must make sure their discourse doesn't hurt kids' precious little eyes and ears, really irks me. As an adult, I have a right to engage in adult-only discourse with other adults.

*I think it's okay for kids, for whatever it's worth.
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll: Rock - Bunnyarchmage on April 5th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC)
Excellent point. No one ever said "everything must be suitable for a 3-year-old."
Stax: Wynnestaxxy on April 6th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
One of the few things my mother really did right in how I was raised is that she not only let me read her giant book of art history as often as I liked, but she sat with me to talk about it sometimes too. And there were paintings in there that make the Gauguin looks like a Christian holiday greeting card (Bosch anyone?). She was very good about teaching me all aspects of viewing art (the subcontext the artist used intentionally, the relativity of the times it was created, the relevance of artistic design {figure placements, scale, style, sometimes brush strokes, colors, etc}. She also taught me all about the eye of the beholder, and interpreting art through your own experience ("what does this mean to *you*?" sort of questions, and "how does it make *you* feel?").

Which is something that I have carried forth to others as well.

Personally, I can only see two native women with a plate of persimmons who have paused to see what the weirdo from abroad is doing, and gotten captured in paint. The one girl looks annoyed about the interruption in her day and the other girl looks like she is asking the first what the hell GauGuin is doing. That's what *I* see. I seen native women, interrupted in their day. no tan lines tells me that the women are not in a specific state of undress, but are clothed in the way every woman is there.

fucking religious zealots.