A group of Congressmen recently pressured the
Smithsonian to censor a work of art and threatened
its funding. Art critic Jerry Saltz wonders,
Why stop there?
There's plenty of indecency to be rooted out!
Dear Messrs. Boehner and Cantor:
Given your censoring of David Wojnarowioz's video of ants crawling on a plastic crucifix with a wooden human figure meant to represent Jesus Christ, a literary character penned by numerous authors over several hundred years and now worshipped as God, and your threatening the Smithsonian's funding if it did not comply with your wishes, I would like you to know about additional threats to decency.
Right now, during the season when many children have passed or are passing through the Metropolitan Museum of Art on their way to view the Christmas tree, there are on view a prehistoric ceramic phallus; numerous Roman vases and cups that depict men with erections (one fragment includes anal penetration and homosexuality); a wooden female figure fingering herself; scores of Oceanic wooden sculptures that depict male figures with enormous multiple penises; Rene Magritte's painting of a pudendum covered in a damp mat of dark pubic hair; Pablo Picasso's scene of a woman going down on him; Papua New Guinean sculptures showing full-on vaginal penetration; multiple sculptures of figures in flagrant coitus in the Indian wing; Roman images of bestiality; a Greek vase made in the shape of a fully erect male member complete with curly pubic hair; a headdress effigy of a female with legs spread and vulva visible; Lorenzo Lotto's painting of an ecstatic woman caressing her own breasts, squeezing flower petals between her legs, and being urinated on by her child, I think that any public funding to the Met should be curtailed until all of [these items have been looked into and removed.
Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Director
JANUARY 3-10-2011 | NEW YORK MAGAZINE