Michael J. Nighan 
Member since Jan 26, 2013


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Re: “Feedback 10/3

With all due respect to Mr. Kastner, and at the risk of be labeled as a philistine by our local cultural mavens, I must point out that his support for Otterness fails on several points:

1) it is not I who has done a disservice to art. It is Otterness, the man who slaughtered a helpless animal and filmed its death agonies AS ART who has performed that disservice. I merely expressed the opinion that such conduct should have disqualified him from being hired by the Memorial Art Gallery, as it disqualified him in San Francisco and New York (where I suspect they are also human, like me!).

2) we have no proof, other than his word, that Otterness is not the same man he was, or has changed from the despicable adult he was in 1977. We do know that it took him THIRTY YEARS to apologize for his actions. And only then because fat commissions were at stake, necessitating some statement on his part. Did anyone expect him to say he was proud of his butchery, even if he still was? Or to go on killing small animals as art once the money started rolling in? Therefore, I must be pardoned for being a tad cynical about the sincerity of his "apology" and for suggesting that morally and ethically, "the man who murdered that unfortunate dog is the same one who designed that playful, whimsical park at the corner of University and Goodman."

3) attempting to compare the antisocial attitudes and activities of Beethoven and Picasso to Otterness' depraved act of blood lust is a textbook example of apples and oranges. The actions of those other artists were personal failings, tangential to their art. However Otterness' actions, by his own admission, were part and parcel OF his art, integral to its (you'll excuse the expression) execution.

The upshot is this. Unless, for some unfathomable reason, we're willing to grant artists an open-ended moral dispensation for their actions, and to hold them to a far lower standard of conduct than we do the rest of society, then Otterness' crime (and make no mistake, the cruelty and torture Otterness inflicted on that dog was a criminal offense), then his past actions must be a determining factor in his future employment. No different than say a bank clerk or a financial adviser who embezzles funds. We might choose to forgive an embezzler their trespasses, but we would insist that they make restitution to their victims, and we would never want them again employed in their chosen profession where they would be handling others' money. Likewise, there is no rational reason that an artist who has prostituted his talents and his art in by committing a heinous crime, for whatever sick reason, should ever again be trusted or hired to produce art (restitution to the victim of course being out of the question in Otterness' case).

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Michael J. Nighan on 10/03/2018 at 5:02 PM

Re: “Paley focuses on design

Interesting. In the last day or so there was a humorous comment posted here which expressed an adverse opinion of Paley's alleged art. It now seems to have disappeared. Apparently the paper permits criticism of politicians, but not local artists. Perhaps of list of who we can, and can not, criticize is in order so that no further sacred cows are disturbed?

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Mícheál O'Niathain on 09/19/2018 at 5:05 PM

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