8 thoughts on “General comments”

  1. Exceptional Site

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  2. I enjoy this website and would like to recommend a contemporary artist’s webpage (her name is Libbey Griffith). Thanks

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  3. H Bernard Waugh Jr said:

    I’ve spent fully weeks-worth of time on your website, discovering artists – historical and contemporary – who were new to me. It is a very valuable resource.

    BUT…just today I ran across the Jon McNaughton entry which includes a picture of President Obama burning the Constitution called “Obamination” and another one entitled “Liberalism is a Disease.”

    My first gut reaction was to just erase your site from my bookmarks, and never come back.

    But on second thought, I find the rest of your site so valuable, that I thought I would ask some questions first:

    (1) Do those pictures represent a viewpoint endorsed by you?

    (2) If not, then why are these pictures displayed on your site? [After all, free speech is protected against censorship only BY GOVERNMENT. If private parties re-publish a type of speech, aren’t they in some sense endorsing it?]

    (3) Are you attempting to uphold some other type of principle that you perceive here – such as “freedom of artistic expression” or something like that? If so, doesn’t such a principle have limits (such as the famous shouting fire in a crowded theater – or in this case hate speech)? If Mr. McNaughton’s pictures don’t cross that line, then what do you think would?

    Sincerely,
    Bernie Waugh

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    • The purpose of this blog is not to satisfy my personal artistic taste (or, in this case, my political point of view), but to show the American pictorial art in all its emotional and cultural aspects. With the exception of abstract art, this blog is open to all forms of expression. I have my opinions and my preferences, this is obvious, but it’s not my purpose to let them know. I realize that, for various reasons, some paintings may be considered objectionable or offensive, but I think an artist has a right to free speech and expression, as each of us has the right to express our opinion and point of view. The dividing line between what you can or cannot do can sometimes be narrow and although moral standards in art may change through the years the question still stands. 30 years ago the American artist Andres Serrano became famous with his photograph representing a crucifix submerged in his own piss…who can tell if he crossed the line? I guess it’s all completely subjective and it’s up to the person viewing it. I’m not able to say if McNaughton’s Obama paintings are intended to be considered Art with a capital A in the future or just propaganda. All I can say is that more than 2500 artists have been published on my American Galleries up till now. My blogs are a labour of love and I’m just trying to consider every artistic movement and expression, even the ones I don’t particularly like. My aim is to challenge traditional perceptions of art, pushing the boundaries of expression. But, I’m aware of it, you cannot please everyone all the time. Sorry.

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      • H Bernard Waugh Jr said:

        Dear Ms. Amberson:

        Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply, as well as for your “labor of love.” I also personally applaud at least one of your preferences – namely, your emphasis on non-abstract art.

        Having been a philosophy major, though, I can’t resist a few more comments. Just as a general principle, I do think there are limits to when a person can justify re-publishing someone else’s speech on grounds of “free speech.” As an off-hand example, if a local newspaper started printing ads for illegal drugs or prostitution, it would be hard not to conclude that, by choosing to print those ads, the newspaper is in some way saying that those activities are acceptable. The free speech issue involved is not just the free speech of the people who submit the ads, but also the free speech of the newspaper in choosing whether or not to print them. I see civility and civilized society as a sort of tightrope which it’s easy for a community or nation to fall off of. Hate speech has consequences. For example I have no doubt that the anti-government hate speech of the 1990s made a tragedy like the McVeigh Oklahoma City bombing more likely. Having a presidential candidate who seems to get away with all sorts of hate speech also, in my view, emboldens those who might be inclined to violence against the groups involved. To keep us up there on that tightrope that makes free expression, including art, even possible, I think citizens have a responsibility to condemn (not censor, just condemn) speech that incites violence. If someone were to create a work of art whose basic message is “All _______ (fill in with some race, nationality or religion) deserve to die,” I would hope most folks would condemn that kind of message – including the refusal of art museums to display it. Sure, the artist has a right to say it, but the artist doesn’t have a right to other people’s silence or acceptance.

        All of which, I hope, explains this note. I feel I have a responsibility not to remain silent in the face of a purported work of art that says “Liberalism is a disease.” That is a message that encourages violence against anyone who’s liberal, and thus deserves condemnation. Democracy, to survive, requires tolerance. (And hey, the Declaration of Independence contained ideas considered “liberal” at the time.)

        Sincerely,
        Bernie Waugh

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  4. Ray Plummer said:

    Would be nice to be able to click on the individual paintings in the collage at the top of each gallery (21st Century etc.) to go to the work with artist and title.

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  5. Hi Lexi and all contributors to American Gallery,

    Thank you so much for this comprehensive guide.

    I have recently commissioned a house portrait for my husband from nobleportrait.com. Their work is truly wonderful. Our oil painting is at a central place in our house.

    If you have an opportunity, I would love others to learn about what beautiful work they make.

    Audrey

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