I’m a very politically oriented person — I can’t help bringing this up, especially in light of my love of public art: Taking the organized labor battle another step in the direction of truly absurd and farcical, Governor Paul LePage is taking down a mural depicting Maine’s workers’ history. The mural, residing in the state’s Department of Labor, is 36 feet long and three years old, and is apparently a dangerous commie plot, according to some random guy:
A spokeswoman said Mr. LePage, a Republican, ordered the mural removed after several business officials complained about it and after the governor received an anonymous fax saying it was reminiscent of “communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses.” (New York Times)
I generally avoid politics as much as possible in this journal, but this is directly affecting my interests. I really think that attacking and censoring art, rather than engaging with it and providing alternatives and more art, is an incredibly cowardly act. It’s the canary in the coal mine telling you that you’re in big trouble with rising totalitarian trends in your politics. I get really depressed reading and watching the news these days, with the Republican insurgence across the country. Yes, the Dems are ineffectual and sometimes wrong, but the Republicans are simply wrong in damaging, divisive ways. Removing public art because of your political motivation is really disgusting.