Recently I had the pleasure of taking to task the author of a blog (see comments from “fgdesign”) urging his readers to “Ignore Second Rate Art” at the talking-points repository know as Big Hollywood.

The main problem I had with the article is that no urging is necessary. The right is already ignoring Fine Art: good, bad, and everything in between. In doing so, it is only slightly less ignorant of Art than the public at large, which is a shame.

This article is not meant to harp on a specific blog, but rather to discuss a tendency I have noticed— one that is not limited to just conservative writers, although it tends to dog them the most. That tendency is a complete ignorance of anything going on in the Art scene in the last 20 years. This is no exaggeration.

Let’s take our sample blog post as an example. While there has been some recent controversy over The Smithsonian Institute’s self-censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s Fire in My Belly (1987), the piece itself is over 20 years old. If you’re inclined to wade through this word salad of an advocacy piece you will find the author’s point:

I urge my fellow artists not to make it so easy for fathers to dismiss us. Let’s stick it to “the man,” but with respect, so the rebellion can gain support and not devolve into a dog and pony show for vegetarians only.

Wouldn’t this point be better made with current examples of Art’s “bad boys?” A lot has happened since the Reagan-era Mapplethorp vs. Jesse Helms times— but of course you’d need to know about it to discuss it.

So in the interest of helping my conservative friends write better articles (about subjects they know next to nothing about), here’s a short list of artists working NOW who might piss off your readers. Cut n’ paste away, chowderheads:

Damien Hirst

Wow. This guys got it all! Start with his unredeemable bad taste and timing:

“You’ve got to hand it to them on some level because they’ve achieved something which nobody would have ever have thought possible – especially to a country as big as America.

“So on one level they kind of need congratulating, which a lot of people shy away from, which is a very dangerous thing.

“The thing about 9/11 is that it’s kind of an artwork in its own right. It was wicked, but it was devised in this way for this kind of impact.”

Follow with his paintings of suicide bomb attacks and crack cocaine addicts:

What more do you need? This guy is bad news!

Jenny Savile

This woman has a fascination with death, mutilation, and nudes of the trans-gendered. Where’s the outrage?

Banksy

From nearly winning an Oscar for his Exit Through The Gift Shop, to reeking havoc on the world’s finest museums and theme parks, this guy is tough to ignore:

!! Educate yourselves, conservatives! You have the Google … get crackin’!

John Currin

From Bea Arthur topless to his paintings of pornography, this guy is sure to offend. It helps if you know about him first:

Kara Walker

What’s more controversial than racially-charged, sexually explicit images that look like they fell from a turn-of-the-century children’s book? Not Much:

Of course, there is more

There’s no shortage of artists today who go way beyond “sticking it to the man.” Grafitti Research Lab had its public laser show in NYC shut down by … wait for it … Homeland Security! (this fact is  left out of this schedule but notice the lack of images … if anyone out there has better documentation let me know). Did you guys see the Willam Defoe film “AntiChrist”? Of course you didn’t. Fred Tomaselli makes paintings out of illegal drugs. Where the hell where you? You miss this? Of course.

In short, you guys can do a LOT better. Let’s get a little more up-to-date in the outrage department mmm-kay? And let’s stop ignoring Art.

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