Thursday, June 05, 2003
Our “Why couldn’t he have succumbed to malaria?” Department
Some innocent channel surfing resulted in hearing viewer less and desperate cable talking head Chris Matthews tease a segment about “the next Mapplethorpe”. Fully expecting another of Chris’ recent gay bashing segments I stayed tuned to his channel.
Imagine my surprise to realize that Matthews meant the new Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, whose old location was the scene of the famous 1990 exhibit Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, and not Mapplethorpe’s homosexual subject matter.
Matthews, host of a cable program with a rating hovering around 1% of the marketplace, was incensed that tax dollars could have been used to fund a performance artist exhibited during the CAC opening weekend. The art, from the videotape that must have been provided by local NBC affiliate WLWT, was a young Asian ethnic wearing a black police uniform and accompanied by a Doberman Pinscher standing on a large plastic America flag and surrounded by a large crowd. There was no factual description of any activity by the person dressed as a policeman or the dog. Matthews’ major concern, and believe me I am not joking, was that "the dog could have taken a dump on the flag”. In today’s Orwellian cable TV world the Poop Menace fear was also expressed by crass boor, Contemporary Art critic and former Texas Congressman Dick Armey. Had the seemingly well-behaved dog left a present on the obviously plastic flag, I am positive that WLWT and Mr. Matthews would have been happy to broadcast that image. Since that image was not broadcast I’m confident the doggie showed a restraint that would have behooved Mr. Matthews.
I urge the artist and the CAC to consider replacing, in future performances, the plastic flag with a large plastic photo of Mr. Matthews.
While not a fan of contemporary art I’m thrilled and proud that the CAC has rattled cages so early in its run and that it will join the fabulous new Cincinnati Wing of the Cincinnati Art Museum and 2004’s opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in changing the world’s perception of the great city of Cincinnati!