The art of victimhood

From the Boston Museum of Fine Arts: Rich American actors take on-camera speaking jobs from poor refugees.

Around the corner, Nan Goldin, who “immersed herself in urban subcultures and the LGBTQIA community” and is “a survivor of opioid addiction”:

On the other hand, the museum will save whales from victimhood via straw-denial:

(They’ve chosen to be “part of the solution” in this liquid context, so they can’t be accused of being part of the precipitate!)

How do things look down near the southern end of the East Coast? A few images from the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville:

How about in the center of our Great Nation (TM)? Our hotel in Arkansas featured a “Future is Female” art exhibit (T-shirt available for $38). The signs below discuss “the affirmation of the self” and the use of “Equal,” “Powerful,” and “Feminist” as “positive language” that will redefine viewers’ reflections by subverting the “typical narrative”.

The presumably well-meaning folks at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art demoted one of my personal favorites Louise Nevelson from “great artist” to “great female artist” by putting one of her sculptures into a female artist ghetto room placarded with a history timeline beginning in 1963. Nevelson was recognized with solo shows beginning in 1941 and was featured on the cover of Life in 1958; a 1971 NYT article describes her as a great sculptor, without limitation to her gender ID (also, that she divorced her husband and “refused any alimony, however, on the ground that to accept it would be immoral”). Right next to Nevelson, who was considered by NYT readers, at least, to be a “great artist” as of 1971, the curators have a sign in which Linda Nochlin, a non-artist academic, asks “Why have there been no great women artists?” (also from 1971)

The museum features a photo exhibit in which, to demonstrate their autonomy, women must comply with the photographer’s instruction to pick a book by a female author (but did anyone verify that the authors of all 70ish chosen books continue to identify as “female”?).

Note that Jean-Paul Sartre’s pet name for Simone de Beauvoir was “Beaver” (Guardian).

5 thoughts on “The art of victimhood

  1. Your next book should be “Dr. Greenspun, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Decline of the Patriarchy”

  2. “In 1980s-New York City, where she immersed herself in urban subcultures and the LGBTQIA community”

    The alphabet soup sexual coalition did not exist in the 1980s. When we frame the past in present-day terms, we do violence to our collective memory.

  3. Do so many far-flung museums typically exhibit the same themes simultaneously? I feel like I’m in an unreleased episode of Frazier where the gang travels coast to coast on a road trip / museum vacation tour and keep seeing all the same themes. Along the way Frazier, Niles and Martin fight over the radio in the car, wrestling the dial back and forth between classical music, NPR and whatever oldies and country station they can get as they skedaddle their way across flyover country.

    They notice on every station during the breaks that the news and commentary is all about the same subjects … that they’re seeing in the museums! ( Then they get back to Seattle and host a wine and cheese party and the topics of conversation bounce around …all the stuff they just listened to on the radio and saw in the art museums.

    You, dear reader, are left to supply the episode’s title…

    I suppose it’s a small world when it comes to art museum curation and exhibit planning. And I don’t really mind the MFA declining to hand out free plastic straws, but couldn’t they at least use a “.” at the end of their sentences? They’ll use a question mark, but they skip all the periods!? [badump bump – cymbal crash]

    Then I was looking at the typefaces in the various exhibit descriptions and I thought for an instant it was Gotham (a.k.a. the “Barack Obama ‘Change’ font) for the Candace Breitz exhibit, but it’s not! The uppercase M among others rule that out. It’s a close cousin though, very similar.

  4. I really hate that Simone de Beauvoir is still considered an icon by some feminists. She was a total pedophile creep who was eventually fired from her teaching job for molesting a (female) student.

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