Re: And Speaking of Stinky Paper -- caused by politics and the church

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 12/15/04-12:49:06 AM Z
Message-id: <>

On Tue, 14 Dec 2004, SteveS wrote:

> Well, it was both, NY State and Federal funding for the artts. And the
> discussion that followed on this list and others brought out the fact that
> was in question was 'should government pay for art that degrades or combats
> local community standards?' Operative point here was 'who's paying?'

No -- the operative point is that you are all making the same assumption
R. Giuliani made -- that it was meant to be offensive. It wasn't. Chris
Offili, not just a VERY talented artist, and, incidentally a man, is a
person "of color" and... a PRACTICING CATHOLIC ! The elephant is a sacred
animal in many of the cultures where its dung is used for ritual or other
reverent purposes, which was his reference and intention in the work. The
dung has no odor, as it's been thoroughly dried, and in some cases was
simply used as feet, or supports for the works. (Not just by Offili, but
others, also, if memory serves, in indigenous arts and crafts.

In no case was it "smeared" on the art -- as I recall the dung was gold
leafed, or it was in other works, but it was anyway a couple of dollops
arranged neatly & decoratively on the surface -- a tribute. (For more on
the sacred value of elephants I recall a charming book titled "Travels
with my Elephant" -- or like that -- I listened to on tape in the studio a
couple of years back.)

In other words, inferences about offense etc. are simply purely
culture-bound, westerners' ideas -- think India, where eating cow meat is
sacrilege...even just shoving the cow out of the road is a no-no. (You
know, "sacred cow.")

In other words, it only "offended the community standards" of the
culturally ignorant, which can in itself offend the supposed offenders...
etc. etc. etc. In any event, let's not be so quick on the trigger.

Received on Wed Dec 15 00:49:13 2004

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