Manick Govinda at SDPtalk argues against an arts policy whose model of artists and cultural institutions is closer to a school teacher whose aim is to ensure the public make ‘the correct’ interpretations; an attitude exemplified in the justifications for delaying the Philip Guston exhibition at the Tate Modern:
A recent example concerns the planned retrospective exhibition of American painter Philip Guston at Tate Modern for 2021, which has now been postponed until 2024 due to issues with a series of paintings depicting Klu Klux Klan hooded figures. The reason given by the exhibition’s American partner museum for the postponement is that the public is not properly able to read the work and will therefore have to wait “until a time at which we think that the powerful message of social and racial justice that is at the center of Philip Guston’s work can be more clearly interpreted”.
In other words, the curators need to teach us how the works must be read, at a later date which they deem politically convenient.
Cancel Culture, spurred on by a small but vocal minority of identity-activists on social media and endorsed by cultural leaders of some funded arts organisations, has attempted to silence writers and artists who question issues relating to race or gender identity. Meanwhile other cultural institutions turn a blind eye to the unjust witch-hunt of critical voices.