Guggenheim Torpedoes Art

I love Spain. My wife is Catalan and I have travelled there practically every summer for the last twenty years – but have never been to the Guggenheim Bilbao.  Now it looks like after hearing the latest news coming from this banal tourist attraction, I will never be going or getting close to their ‘battleship’ Frank Gehry building. Here is a link to the article in the Wall Street Journal…  http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/04/10/guggenheim-bilbao-fires-back-at-battleship-artwork-in-spain/ . Can you imagine? Can you believe it? An art museum is demanding artists to remove their art from public view! Isn’t this the exact OPPOSITE of a museum’s mission in society? What are contemporary art museums coming to when they promote censorship and intimidation of artists because in their (mistaken) judgement the artwork “includes connotations that discredit the institution”… and they exercise enough power and intolerance to make an image (uncomfortable for their precious corporate sentiments) DISAPPEAR?  Where is their outrage when they fill their exhibition space with artwork entirely appropriated from other cultural icons but KA-CHING from visitors? Examples like the McCarthy/Bouchet billboard in question are legion and Ed Ruscha’s LA County museum on fire is first to come to mind – but was  its artistic value ever questioned?  Is  Guggenheim Bilbao devolving to the point where they will resort to put fig leaves on statues and black boxes over the ‘naughty bits’ of nude paintings because they ‘discredit’ modesty and social norms? Would they remove their kitch Chia dog if Joseph Enterprises Inc threatened them with a lawsuit in the same way they have threatened the artists Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet? I don’t think so, nor should they. The hypocrisy is stunning for a supposed center of culture that is assumed to encourage artists to explore boundaries and question established norms. Guggenheim Bilbao even threatened to DESTROY the art if it was not removed in an expedited manner. Here is another link… http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Billboard-work-taken-down-after-Guggenheim-Bilbao-complains/32347 . It appears that the closet fascists in this museum are caught in a timewarp and still living in Generalissimo Franco’s Spain when censorship and repression by force were the accepted norm. So I have a modest proposal… every artist in the world should boycott exhibiting at Guggenheim Bilbao and every art lover avoid visiting this museum until it becomes truly tolerant and ‘democratic’ in their acceptance of art, nevermind what petty corporate or institutional sensibilities are hurt. Intolerance of Art is not something we should be learning from an art museum. Good riddance Guggenheim Bilbao – or as the Spanish would say… de Puta Madre!

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