Letters to the Editor

Do we destroy art that offends?

Regarding your editorial of July 9 (“Remove whitewashing monuments at Capital”) I hope that you’re advocating their relocation, and not their destruction. If it were the latter, would you also condone the destruction of the Winged Human Headed Bulls and the stone reliefs of Assyria, as was done by Isis? After all, the Assyrians who made these were rapacious murderers, and so we dislike their origins? Do we take down the Renaissance equestrian statues of La Gattamalata by Donatello and the Il Colleone by Verrocchio which celebrate the rise to power of thugs? Was Cromwell right when he destroyed many Roman Catholic artifacts in England? Likewise do we approve the decapitation of the figures found at Mount St Michal all in the name of reason, as opposed to religion during the French Revolution? Do we salute the “ bonfire of the vanities” of Savonarola, which resulted in many Botticelli paintings burned? Although we salute the sentiments of the works of Nellie Verne Walker, an early Iowan female sculpture, found at the state capital, particularly the bas-relief celebrating women’s suffrage, but do we find her sculpture of “ Bounty” problematic in her semi nudity, which might offend some sensibilities? I could go on, but I’m simply asking: do we destroy art whose subject matter offends us, and disregard their formal excellence as many in the past have done, or might do in the future?

Hugh Lifson

Cedar Rapids

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