Sometimes art is not art. And sometimes art for the sake of art is simply pornography in disguise. That is the case with one piece of, shall we say “art”, drawn by one public school student and displayed on her school wall. Only there is no disguising the message of, or behind, this mural. Its vivid starkness glares down at us, as we look up at it. Its candid gratuitousness mocks our everyday norms and standards, belittles and ridicules us in horrible, torturous ways, and makes us as uncomfortable as a bug caught in a glass of formaldehyde. How can we possibly get a wrong impression of what this “art” represents?
But sometimes, some people take things too far. Sometimes an artist comes along and interjects a message so controversial, so obscene, so blatantly pornographic and devoid of any value, artistic or otherwise, the people are obliged to throw up their hands in utter and absolute disgust and vomit in rage. That has happened in Rhode Island, and with just and moral cause.
Liz Bierendy, a 17-year-old artist who attends Pilgrim High School in Warwick, R.I., has had to defend her artistic vision for a mural to cover a wall of the high school.
“Defend” is putting it mildly. What this child has done to her school, her community, her state has set real art back hundreds of years. What is worse is that, although her school originally covered up the mural, (the controversial part anyway) it has since been uncovered and Liz has been allowed to finish it as she saw fit. This final product, this vision of hers has cast a dark shadow over her school and until the good people of Rhode Island stand up and demand it be permanently trashed, anyone viewing it will get extraordinarily peculiar ideas in their heads, foreign ideas, outdated and antiquated ideas of Rhode Island and which the good people of Rhode Island thought they had finally put behind them once and for all. The past is coming back to haunt Rhode Islanders, and it is all the fault of one very deranged girl who should have had sense enough to know how much damage her “art’ would cause. Where were this child’s parents? View this “art” for yourself and see what “choice” words you might have for her parents.
What are any parents supposed to do, now that this mural is on full display for their impressionable children to see as they walk down the school hall from one class to the next? These students will see this “art” every day, and somehow have to live with themselves. How are parents supposed to explain to their children the meaning behind the mural without throwing up? How do teachers, administrators and staff explain why this “art” was allowed to remain, knowing that students will be compelled to look at it, talk about it – and perhaps even admire it, and copy it?
That is the worst part. Students who look at this “art” might just copy it. Rhode Island has worked hard, for decades, to instill certain values in their students, and to remove other, old-fashioned values that are relics of America’s historical past. If only Liz had defecated on a Bible or a picture of the Pope in protest of the priest pedophile scandal, or over the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception and birth control and submitted that as art. Liz would have been a national hero and icon. She didn’t do that. She took a more extreme measure that has the “art” world turned upside down. Recover? Good luck!
Judge for yourself, but be warned – it’s not for the squeamish.
What kind of message does this instill in our children? This repulsive, inhumane drawing depicts the life of a boy as he grows into a man, eventually marrying a woman and having a child. (Both wife and child are at his side in the last image) Can you understand, now, why this mural is so controversial in the State of Rhode Island? Can you understand, now, why school officials originally wanted it removed? Can you see the controversy staring down at you?