What’s the latest on the tiny story turned giant news bomb: Jeffrey Deitch white washes graffiti artist Blu’s mural, The Internet (and now Blu) cries censorship? Earlier this week Deitch claimed he hadn’t seen sketches and the images of soldiers in coffins with dollar bill flags on them were likely to be offense to the war memorial. Today Blu claims Deitch didn’t want them.
I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but all this talk about Jeffrey Deitch’s decision to white wash grafetti artist Blu’s mural at MoCA is a big who cares for me. Yes, Deitch shouldn’t have pulled the wall after it had all but been completed. Blu, though, will still be in the show catalogue, so it’s not like no one will see the piece. If this is the outrageous censorship I keep reading about, it’s pretty ineffective. Plus, let’s keep in mind that the graffiti was never meant to permanent anyway.
The real issue here is that if Blu’s words are true, we have a director at the head of major institution lying in a public form. That’s a serious problem and worth some discussion.
Footnote: What’s not worth much discussion here is the work. There’s been a fair amount of back and forth about its quality on both my Facebook page and at the AFC offices, and for what it’s worth I’m in the “It’s not very good” camp. A good summation by AFC’s Will Brand.
It’s a bunch of caskets, each draped with a dollar in the fashion of a soldier killed in battle. There’s also a little cross nestled in between each casket and its dollar. The message is painfully obvious: soldiers haven’t died for their country but for the almighty dollar, religion is in bed with money and death, and America’s current wars – which brought such images of coffins back to the spotlight – are bad.
I suppose one could argue that when art gets lost in useful debate, it’s probably better that it’s bad. In this case, however, I find the work so poor that I have to push myself to engage in the larger issues.