1st December 1999

Art: It Ain’t Always Pretty

posted in `Roids |

Greetings from the set of Citizen Toxie. Principal photography is nearly complete and I feel confident that this will be the best Toxic Avenger movie yet. It feels great to be making a movie. It’s one of the few times when I can remove myself from the ugly distractions of the world with out having to rely on chemicals. However, there are times when some unpleasant event sneaks under the radar, as happened this week. This time it took the form of the most dreaded of forms, government sanctioned censure of the arts.

“The government, in my opinion, has no business funding the arts. Not because I don’t think it’s their role, but because like anything else, once this elitist government gets involved they fuck everything up.”

-Lloyd Kaufman

By now, most people I would assume have heard about the mess going on at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The museum is about to open a show called Sensations, featuring work from the heavily promoted Saatchi collection. The art is characterized by its supposedly bold, grizzly nature. A dead cow, sliced into one foot thick portions, each portion suspended in it’s own Plexiglas frame. A cast of a head, made from the artist frozen blood. A dead shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde. This is no Grandma Mosses or Norman Rockwell happy art, this is raw, in-your-face art. I saw this show a few years ago when it was running in London. To be honest, I really did not think much of it. Our fans send us art work all the time that is more passionate and original (see The Museum of Tromatic Arts!) There was nothing there that was very different from the collections of props and special effects elements left over from any Troma movie. If gory, bloody body parts are to you liking, save yourself the trek into Brooklyn and go see Terror Firmer (opening October 29 in LA). Among the collection is a painting by Chris Ofili called “The Holy Virgin Mary”? It shows the Virgin, surrounded by cut outs of genitals from a pornographic magazine. The final touch is a clump of elephant dung flung on the canvas. As one can imagine, the thought police are freaking out. Our Fuher, Mayor Guiliani, is leading the battle against Sensations with Cardinal O’Conner.

Will Keenan and Trent Haaga create a special
blend of screen magic in TERROR FIRMER

Can you tell the difference between the daring, shocking independently produced and financed art and the over exposed dull art sponsored by a big corporation?

The government, in my opinion, has no business funding the arts. Not because I don’t think it’s their role, but because like anything else, once this elilist government gets involved they fuck everything up.In a perfect world, the government would fund the arts, encourage free expression and education unconditionally. I honestly believe the only reason the government is involved in the arts is so they can have punching bag, something to get the masses behind them so when they neglect the big issues no one will notice. Despite this, I do feel that once the government commits to funding the arts, they can not simply withhold money whenever they wish.

Our leaders sold us the idea of public funding for the arts on the premises that this was the best way art and culture can be expressed and experienced by everybody, no matter where or how they live. Instead it has been twisted and corrupted by the very politicians we elect. The artists who do benefit from public funding are few and far between, and are only those who are sectioned by the cultural elite. This is fitting, because the museums are, now more than ever, the domain of the rich, white, powerful males.

Perhaps I would be a little more enthused about government funding of the arts if I knew the museum were not squandering the money. And by squandering, I don’t mean spending it on questionable art, I mean squandered on the bloated salaries for the upper elitist echelons who the show. An upper management job at an art museum comes with a salary of one hundred thousand dollars plus. Meanwhile the buildings cleaning lady is scraping by on poverty wages. The Mayor may close the Museum, but who is he really punishing? Not the fat cats in the paneled board rooms. What they earn there is chump change to them. But Consuela and her coworkers are out on their ass, and that seems to suit Rudy just fine.

An excellent example of how this evil game is played can be seen in the Sensations . Saatchi, and English billionaire ad man, has one of the largest private art collections in England. When the collection was on display in London, it received no public funding. Not because of its content, but because it is a private collection and the Parliament saw no reason in helping increase the value of a private art collection. When the Brooklyn Museum decided they wanted to stage the show, they need additional funding to make it happen. They turned to swap meet of the rich and famous, Christie’s for sponsorship. Saatchi, an expert in advertising and manipulating the media has already inflated his collects importance. Even Philippe de Montebello, director the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (who has made being a pompous snot bag into an art) has come out to declare the art in this collection is quite sub-par. But the Saatchi manipulation machine in addition to the predictable reaction from our incoherent Mayor and Cardinal has now made the collection some of the most valuable in the Western world. When it comes time for the collection to go on the auction block, no will benefit more than Sattchi and his sponsor Christie’s.

Troma founder, and TERROR FIRMER director Lloyd Kaufman,
will always have a lasting impression on the art world.

If you are a young artist, struggling to get someone interested in your work, if you are a small gallery or museum, barely a blip on the mainstream radar screen, such attention and press would be a dream come true. But these independents of the art world will never get the notice they deserve. They have to align themselves with people who wield the power and money before they are invited to the party. Van Gogh knew that and blew his brains out. He was the Troma of his age! The venues that give an artist a place to show their work are run by people who know not about art or history, but about money, finance. A museum’s director may not need to know a Rembrant when he sees one, but he must have lots of the right connections, the sort of friends who have deep pockets. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC should have installed an artist or historian as its director. Instead the snotty bastards who run the place just appointed a rich Wall Street Wheeler Dealer to control our nations cultural, artistic and anthropological repository. Jefferson and Van Buren must be shitting in their wigs.

This whole mess is such a non-issue. It’s mind boggling that our “leaders” and the media are spending any time on this at all. But what really pisses me off is that they think we are assholes, that we are stupid and do not see through their pathetic charade. And can we really blame them? We have given them no reason to think otherwise. We let them play their little mind fucks on us and we never once raise an objection. Well, not anymore. Here’s your chance to tell them all, the Mayor, the Cardinal, the US Congress, the media, even that pasty spineless Clinton. Here’s your chance to tell them “fuck you!”. We are not stupid, you are not fooling us. We see right through you, deep inside to your diseased, black hearts. You suck!

The Mayor of New York City
Cardinal O’Conner of New York
14 East 51st Street New York NY 10022
(It appears there are no e-mail address for anyone at the Archdiocese.)
The US Congress
ABC News

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