Jewish World Review Nov. 21, 2002 / 16 Kislev, 5763
Fine art over the years has served as a vehicle for
shaping moral sentiments -- and for numbing them. Here's a story that
illustrates one side of that trend.
The Art Students League of Denver has
awarded the Best of Show prize for art students to a young man named Cong
Lu. Lu has produced a painting, titled Self-portrait of a Martyr, that
pictures an androgynous Asian fellow lifting his shirt to reveal a bomb and
The award set off controversy almost instantly.
the painting's poor taste, prompting Arts League executive Director Leona
Lazar to tell reporters, "We have a lot of pretty art here, but we want
people to think. The beauty of art is this wonderful freedom to express
The school's faculty unanimously seconded the notion with a letter
blathering on about the freedom of speech and virtue of intellectual
Fair enough -- but what I'd like Lazar or her faculty to
explain is what edifying idea or ideas the picture promotes.
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