Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Lesson in the Fine Art of Moral Blindness Courtesy a Video at the AGO's Turner Exhibition

Wandering through the Turner exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario earlier today, I came upon by a large TV screen featuring the talking head of a Toronto artist named Stephen Andrews.

This video, in fact:

In the video, Andrews explains what inspired him to create two paintings--a "before" and an "after" of the biblical flood--that are displayed beside two Turner paintings based on the same theme.

What stopped me dead in my tracks, however, wasn't the artistry of Andrews' works--which to my eye resemble the Turners not in the least--but the words coming out of his mouth, ones which were subtitled on the bottom of the screen. For it seems that Andrews drew not only upon the biblical story of Noah's "before" and "after" world for inspiration but also upon the "before" and "after" world of--wait for it--the 9/11 attacks.

Andrews explains it like this:
The world was kind of out of balance and something like the attack on the World Trade Center is this indication of what's gone wrong in the world.  We're in this post-9/11 moment. And the allegory that operates within the Turner paintings--this idea of before and after--was a great metaphor to map onto the early 2000s.
Seriously? 9/11 was "a great metaphor"?

What a load of rubbish!

And, if I may say so, an idea as misty and indistinct as some of my favorite Turner canvases.

Reading what I've read and knowing what I know, I can't help but see 9/11 in a far more literal--and therefore a far less metaphorical--way. In fact, I see no metaphor here at all. What I see is the destructive and hateful act of evil jihadis, Muslim supremacists who despise everything about our infidel ways--including our love of artwork by the likes of J.M.W. Turner--and who are literally bent on our wholesale destruction.

You can find their successors today in places like Syria, Somalia, Nigeria and Gaza. And some of them, sadly, dwell among us.

So, yes, the world was definitely different "before" and "after" 9/11. But unless you're prepared to open your eyes to the reality of what inspired those jihadis--and, sorry, Mr. Andrews, it was not, as you claim, our "hubris" that got them going--you will remain lost in the mists and won't be able to see the truth, no matter how gifted an artist you happen to be.

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