Sunday, November 16, 2014

Political Art is Free Speech

Katie Yoder at the right-wing Newsbusters wrote about how some veterans were objecting to Creators Syndicate columnist Connie Schultz writing about Dawn Hanson's "Flag of Reproductive Freedom."

There's a lot of confusion here.

Hopefully, any veterans objecting were misled by Yoder's nonsense which tried to tie the flag into Veterans Day -- as if the artist or the columnist (or both) were using the flag as some sort of representation of Veterans Day.

Yoder can be offended by the art all she wants, her reaction is her reaction and she needs to own it.  And art is supposed to provoke a reaction.

But she tried to trash Schultz by bringing in Veterans Day which really wasn't a point.

The only way it becomes a point is when whiners start bitching.

Dawn Hanson did a piece of political art -- pulling the stars from the US flag and replacing them with buttons representing birth control pills.  In Schultz's word, "The first three rows -- weeks one through three -- are white; in the last row -- week four -- the buttons are pink. The days of the week run along the top: SUN, MON, TUE -- you get the idea."

In fairness to Yoder, Hanson's work is rudimentary and not noted for artistry.

It is, however, art.  And art  -- especially political art which has a much lower threshold -- is part of free speech, which is guaranteed in the Constitution -- a Constitution any veteran should grasp since he or she took an oath to uphold it.

Is it good art?

As political art, it possibly is.

As art-art?


It's tacky because it has no depth to it.

It's a telegram that says everything bluntly.

The color scheme isn't all that (and don't say the artist was limited -- when you're replacing the stars on the flag, you can replace anything else).

We're not opposed to art noting reproductive freedom.

We just don't embrace bad art.

And, again, that's what we consider the piece hanging in Connie Schultz's home to be: Bad art.

But it is art and it is an artist engaging in political speech.

Instead of trying to condemn Connie or the artist Dawn Hanson as unpatriotic, the two should be applauded for engaging in political speech and strengthening democracy by doing so.

And you can applaud them for that without embracing the work of art itself.

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