Monday, December 3, 2007

None Dare Call It Art

Tonight I thought we might all benefit by visiting an art gallery. If you are in New York any time soon you should visit the New York Public Library's main Fifth Ave. branch. It has put up mugshots of several well known administration figures. The Daily News has a slide show. In the alternative, the AP has a video story.

UnitedOffensiveIII's "liner" notes after the break.

Mug shots' of Bush, Cheney featured in library exhibit

The New York Public Library is displaying an unusual set of photographs: images of Bush administration officials doctored to make them look like police mug shots.

The half dozen pictures were created by two Brooklyn artists, Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese, as part of a privately financed exhibit called "Line Up" in the landmarked public space on Fifth Avenue.

Also in the mug shot gallery are images of Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Bush adviser Karl Rove, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The dates on each image match days when each official spoke about Iraq in ways the artists consider criminal - with sound clips of them speaking, along with a camera flash going off and a prison door closing.

Some have criticized the library for displaying political satire in an institution that receives public funding.

Matthew Walter, spokesman for the New York Republican State Committee, said: "It is simply inappropriate to have political attack in the form of egregious doctored photographs of the president and other high-ranking officials who have dedicated their lives to public service in a taxpayer-funded building frequented by schoolchildren and the general public."

The library said the exhibition "has no political agenda."

The photographs are part of a larger exhibit called "Multiple Interpretations: Contemporary Prints in Portfolio at the New York Public Library," which will be up through Jan. 27.

The library has a long tradition of collecting political satire and caricature, library spokesman Herb Shaer said Friday.

"It's the mission of the library to document what's happening in the culture, and this is an artist's response to what's happening to the world around them," he said.