Monday, April 1, 2013

The truth of art and photojournalism

In the 1980s, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts put up an exhibit of Black US artists in a busy dirty dark foyer. The paintings were hung behind tall potted plants, next to fire exits, and with no respect at all. Many were as magnificent as this painting and if the artist had a French name would have been given the dignity of a gallery all his/her own. I went ballistic and was informed by the several curators I fulminated at that many viewers shared my outrage and disgust. The Boston MFA has a real problem with racism for many cultures but that foyer typified the worst. It's uncurious artistic depiction of US military atrocities in the Hawaiian conquest & its separation of African Nubian culture from Egyptian civilization are other horrors. But the remarkable thing about art (and for that matter, photojournalism) is that a picture or an artifact is worth a thousand lies. There isn't a culture on this planet who haven't contributed magnificence & beauty & inspiration for a better world.

(Picture of factory workers by Romare Howard Bearden)

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