Gainsay art if taxes paid for it

January 14, 2012

Louis Mahern [Dec. 26 Forefront] cites an incident which was incredibly offensive to millions of Americans—a photo of a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine—then moves easily on to say, “If an artist says it is art who are we to gainsay it?”

If an “artist” is prepared to present a work simply for his own satisfaction or is willing to take it to the open market for a voluntary transaction, it can be entitled whatever the “artist” prefers. If, on the other hand, some fool wishes to use public revenue, to which hundreds of thousands of people have contributed, in support of the work, then every one of those individuals is entitled to “gainsay” defining something deliberately offensive as “art.”

Calling a dog’s tail a “leg” does not give you a five-legged dog. I wonder how Mahern would react if he went into a pet shop and wanted to buy a dog, only to be offered a parrot which had been taught to bark!

It is this kind of thinking that makes me wonder about the use of public funds on the Cultural Trail. How many five legged dogs will we have out there?


Fred McCarthy

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