What Is It With Artists?

The latest from the art world: a painting by Norwegian artist Chris Reddy, titled, for no apparent reason, “Anti-Semitism In the Name of God,” has been removed from a gallery in Oslo for being anti-Semitic. And “probably offensive [to] Americans as well.” Here is the painting, in which the “S” in USA and Israel is replaced by a swastika:
The painting drew a complaint from the Israeli ambassador. The artist, Reddy, was outraged that the gallery removed his painting:

Reddy countered that it’s “alarming” the ambassador “is using the fascists’ own tool: censorship.” He claims his art challenged the most important source of conflict in the world, nationalism, adding that “totalitarian and exteme regimes can’t tolerate criticism.”

Well, of course, when the fascists didn’t like art, they didn’t just criticize it; they destroyed it, burned down the galleries where it was displayed and beat up or killed the gallery owners. So the analogy isn’t quite perfect. Still, it does suggest a thought: I wonder why it is that our courageous, free-thinking, convention-defying artists never–and I mean never–create works that cast Islamofascist murderers in a bad light? Maybe it’s because “totalitarian and extreme regimes can’t”–and don’t–“tolerate criticism.”


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