They Said What?

When it comes to art, we often have strong opinions, and sometimes, when those opinions are expressed, they come with a backlash. The following people found that out the hard way.


ABOVE: Remains of a mostly detsroyed Banksy work in New Orleans, Photo: Infrogmation of New Orleans

In art and politics, opinions beget opinions:

“[A] lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career. But I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might make with an art history degree. Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree – I love art history. So I don’t want a bunch of emails from everybody.” Barak Obama, U.S. President

“Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed.” Barack Obama, U.S. President


“I have fundamental questions about why the Federal Government is involved in supporting artists that taxpayers have refused to support in the marketplace. My concern in this regard is heightened when I hear the arts community and the media saying that any restriction at all on Federal funding would amount to censorship. What they seem to be saying is that we in Congress must choose between: First, absolutely no Federal presence in the arts; or second, granting artists the absolute freedom to use tax dollars as they wish, regardless of how vulgar, blasphemous, or despicable their works may be.”  Jesse Helms, U.S. Senator

“The first time [Helms’s office called] they basically expressed displeasure that we had withdrawn. I have to conclude they really wanted that exhibition in Washington, so it would fuel their fire.” Christina Orr-Cahal, Director of Corcoran Gallery of Art, after cancelling a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition at the museum


“I’m obsessed with getting graffiti out of the city and keeping it out of the city. As you know, I’ve been fighting since I was first elected to get this city as clean as possible by removing all the graffiti.” Rob Ford, Toronto Mayor

“Every time he does this we get more graffiti. The graffiti artists see it as a taunt and they respond by tagging people – usually it’s anti-Ford stuff.” Adam Vaughan, Toronto city councilor

2 responses to “They Said What?

  1. Various arts funding orgs have made some strange (perhaps sometimes bad) decisions, and I wonder why they support some of the oddball things they have, instead of just support the arts in public schools? In the US, education is falling, and arts are getting the ax in many school programs. College is out of reach for so many people now. Would love to see education supported, including the arts.

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