The American left enjoys significant influence over our nation’s most prestigious museums. The fact that a single worldview dominates many of these institutions has in some cases led to the weaponization of art and culture to support a radical, racial agenda.
A jaw-dropping example this phenomena was the absurd “whiteness poster” recently released by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., which labelled universal American values as mere “White Dominance.”
On the other side of the country in San Francisco, the radical left-wing movement poisoning American culture just destroyed the career of one of America’s most prominent curators of painting and sculpture, Gary Garrels.
Garrels was curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from 1993 to 2000, a post he returned to in 2008 and has continued in to the present day.
Despite his years of dedicated service, Garrels tenure will end as of July 31 because he committed a thought crime. At a museum staff meeting last week, he said the SFMOMA would still collect the work of white men because refusing to do so would be “reverse discrimination.”
This benign observation led to a revolt among staff members, who released a petition through Change.org calling for Garrels’ removal.
The vocabulary in the petition is a master class in radical leftist language butchery.
“When pressed on the museum’s collecting policies he has repeatedly said some variation of ‘don’t worry, we will continue to collect white male artists.’ Amongst SFMOMA staff as well as in public view, Gary has used and continued to use white supremacist and racist language such as ‘reverse discrimination,'” the petition says.
“His use of dog whistle terms and divisive language is the antithesis of the spirit of SFMOMA’s Strategic Plan.”
The petition goes on to say that “as exemplified by his words and actions, he is clearly ill-equipped to further SFMOMA’s agenda of inclusion and equity outlined in the plan and is failing to ‘ensure that all people — including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented… are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.’
“Gary’s removal from SFMOMA is non-negotiable. Considering his lengthy tenure at this institution, we ask just how long have his toxic white supremacist beliefs regarding race and equity directed his position curating the content of the museum?”
Garrels has literally been labeled a “white supremacist” for maintaining that the works of white artists should still be considered in the future collection and display of art at the museum. He was right to point out that purposely refusing to consider the works of certain artists because they are white would be “reverse discrimination.”
But the employees who came for his scalp used the proper left-wing “dog whistles,” if you will, to destroy him. Apparently, voicing a willingness to still consider white artists, among other creators, is “white supremacist and racist language.”
By the left’s politically motivated standards of artistry, evaluating the works of white artists is “divisive.” Deliberately excluding one race is ironically considered “inclusion and equity.”
This cancel culture reality brings to mind the notion presented by George Orwell in “1984” that “the Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect.” The left has the lingo down pat whenever they want someone removed.
If the accused dares to make a perfectly reasonable statement about including all voices, cancel culture will accuse him or her of being a racist and white supremacist and call their words “violence.”
Reason no longer matters.
Labeling the words “violence” immediately marks the target as a dangerous and threatening person who must be removed for the safety of others. It is a cruel linguistic trick that seeks to remove meaning from words, and those responsible are acting like animalistic mobs who don’t have the ability to use words in the first place.
Art is not reserved for a certain race or sex. It exists to teach and delight everyone, not to be used as a form of virtue signaling.
Sadly, Garrells released an apology for his inoffensive remarks at the meeting.
In an email to staff on Saturday, he wrote, “I want to offer my personal and sincere apology to every one of you. I realized almost as soon as I used the term ‘reverse discrimination’ that this is an offensive term and was an extremely poor choice of words on my part. I am very sorry at how upsetting these words were to many staff,” according to Artnet.
“I do not believe I have ever said that it is important to collect the art of white men. I have said that it is important that we do not exclude consideration of the art of white men.”
“I realize in the current climate, I can no longer effectively work at SFMOMA,” he added.
Of course he can no longer “effectively work” in “the current climate” because the current climate is nuts.
The irony is that Garrels had used major funding in recent years to expand the museum’s acquisitions to include a wide range of artists pleasing to the very people who got him fired.
As Artnet reported: “But his lasting legacy at SFMOMA may be tied to two very different initiatives: the museum’s extended loan deal of the Fisher Collection and its decision, last year, to auction off a painting by Mark Rothko for $50.1 million in order to create a dedicated fund to acquire work by female artists, artists of color, and LGBTQ+ artists.”
No matter how woke a person tries to be, it will never be enough for the woke mob. The revolution always eats its own.
Garrells’ career is now ruined, and he will likely be blacklisted from future work in the art world. That is the price he pays for remaining sane in an art culture run by left-wing activists.
He will not be the last man or woman to be sacrificed for this revolution, and the art world will continue to suffer for it.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.