Adam Klasfeld @KlasfeldReports Reporter, @CourthouseNews: NYC+Int’l. RTs=What's it to ya? adam[at]adamklasfeld[dot]com PGP Fingerprint: F427 EE3B 6F05 E5D5 785B 775B 2C74 683C 219D 91DC Oct. 18, 2019 1 min read

As NYC mayor, Rudy Giuliani once threatened to yank funding to the Brooklyn Museum over this painting, Chris Ofili’s “Holy Virgin Mary,” which then-private citizen Donald Trump called “degenerate.”

Now, it’s at MoMA, thanks to a donation by Trump-donor hedge funder Steve Cohen.

Of course, the word “degenerate” in relation to art has a history. Some of the background to the painting care of @hyperallergic. 

In college, way back when, I saw the Brooklyn Museum’s “Sensation” exhibit at the center of this controversy. There were protesters outside, and I remember seeing this painting.

Not yet in my 20s, it was immediately clear, in person, it was a reverent (if iconoclastic) painting.

Ofili, the artist, is British by way of Nigeria, where elephant dung is a symbol of fertility. Viewing the work up close, the figure of the Virgin was repelling images of defilement.

It’s now in the MoMA’s permanent collection. Enjoyed the museum’s re-opening tonight. So many other paintings worth seeing, outside the headlines.

Here’s one: Song Dong’s “Breathing,” with the artist lying facedown in Tiananmen Square in subzero conditions.

You can follow @KlasfeldReports.


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