Gays and Cultural Politics

Gays and lesbians have made pretty impressive strides over the past two decades.  There’s openly gay elected officials, billionaires, cultural icons, academics and other educators.  HIV and AIDS, while still a challenge, is under much better control.  Momentum on several critical issues of rights equality also seems to be advancing, haltingly and sometimes unevenly, but in general, advancing.  Overall, I’d say that the picture is encouraging.

However, I’d encourage you to read Frank Rich’s column from the New York Times as to what’s going on at the Smithsonian and the National Portrait Gallery and how gays have become a punching bag as to the politics surrounding art and its financing.  I’m not going to bother with a regurgitation of it, as he’s a far better writer than I am, and I’d only be doing a disservice to the overall sentiment that he so eloquently expresses.

As an aside, for those of you that are fans of Keith Haring’s work (as mentioned in the column), I recently discovered a similar altarpiece that’s displayed in one of the many chapels off the apse of the altar at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York (112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue).  I don’t recall specifically which of the chapels it’s in, but for those of you familiar with his work, it’s easy to locate, given the fact that the artist was an East Village 1980s gay punk artist, and the venue in question is a traditional neo-Gothic cathedral.  It kind of stands out.  A bit .


One Comment

  1. Haring’s “Life of Christ” altarpiece was produced as an edition, and examples are installed (permanently) at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in NYC and Eglise St Eustache in Paris (as well as at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco). Others are in the permanent collections (though not always on view) of the Ludwigmuseum Budapest; the Whitney Museum NYC; Denver Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima; and Museum of the American Friends of Israel, Jerusalem.


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