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Giuliani VS Brooklyn, Round II

The Brooklyn Museum couldn't buy publicity like this. New York mayor Rudy Giuliani knows how to give the Brooklyn Museum of Art a big attendance boost (and make an artist's career in the process).

By early accounts, [NYTimes] Renée Cox is an artist with "a minor reputation as an artist of expensive-looking, technically proficient photographs." But that didn't stop the art-loving mayor from considerably elevating her position in the artworld when he denounced Cox's photo [NYTimes] "Yo Mama's Last Supper," being shown as part of BMA's "Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers" show, for being "disgusting," "outrageous" and "anti-Catholic."

Guaranteeing that Cox will be in the news for weeks to come (and that crowds will be flocking to the BMA), he also promised to appoint a commission to set "decency standards" to ensure such work stays out of museums that receive public money. He's likely to be thwarted in that threat, just as he was last year [CBC] when he tried to withhold city funding to the BMA because he objected to it showing a Chris Ofili painting as part of the "Sensation" show [ArtsJournal].

Of course, the mayor hasn't yet seen the photo itself, but particularly after last year's "Sensation" storm, he had to know that his public condemnations would ignite another media flurry. And now the issue will play out with all the predictable players [NY Post] taking their predictable sides, including Cox, [Salon] who will make a career of portraying the aggrieved artist. Can you say Holly Hughes? Here we go again.

Complete Brooklyn/Giuliani "Sensation" story archive





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