The Naked Ladies Are Back — but for How Long?
Not content with tearing down monuments and hollowing out cultural institutions in the name of "social justice" (which is simply a fancy term for revenge), the totalitarians of the Left have now turned their basilisk glare on historic works of art. Case in point, Hylas and the Nymphs by one of the foremost artists of the pre-Raphaelite movement in Britain, J. W. Waterhouse. A flap over this painting arose the other day when the Manchester Art Gallery removed the work over "sensitivity" issues:
A gallery has temporarily removed a Victorian painting of naked adolescent girls in a move to "encourage debate" about how such images should be displayed in the modern age. Manchester Art Gallery has taken down Hylas and the Nymphs by JW Waterhouse. Curator Clare Gannaway said there were "tricky issues about gender, race and representation" in the gallery. "But we want to talk about that with people." She denied accusations that the gallery was censoring the 1896 picture.
The decision has already sparked a heated reaction, however, with many on social media accusing the gallery of being puritanical and too politically correct. The painting was one of a number of similar pictures in a gallery area titled In Pursuit of Beauty, which Gannaway described as "very old-fashioned" because it depicts women as "either as passive beautiful objects or femmes fatales."
Idiotic, but entirely expected. The cultural-Marxist Left will not rest until it has destroyed every vestige of the past, a trait it shares with both Islam and various 20th-century Communist revolutions, including in the Soviet Union, China, and Cambodia. The totalitarian impulse always lurks just beneath the deceptively beneficent surface of these satanic movements -- which, after all, only want to bring "justice," "enlightenment," and "peace."
Fortunately, for now, the righteous pushback has had an effect:
A gallery is to put a Victorian painting of naked adolescent girls back on display after a row over censorship. Manchester Art Gallery said it took down Hylas and the Nymphs by JW Waterhouse to "encourage debate" about how such images should be displayed. But critics accused curators of being puritanical and politically correct. The painting will return on Saturday. "It's been clear that many people feel very strongly about the issues raised," Manchester City Council said.
The painting's initial removal was filmed to be made into a new piece of video art for artist Sonia Boyce's exhibition at the gallery in March. Postcards of the painting were also taken out of the gallery shop.
(In case you're wondering who Sonia Boyce is: "Focusing on work from the mid-1990s to the present the exhibition will reflect Boyce’s move from her earlier drawing and collage which explored her own position as a black British woman, towards more improvised, collaborative ways of working. These unpredictable, open processes have been documented through a range of media including photography, film and wallpaper. The gallery has also commissioned Boyce to make a new collaborative live work for the exhibition.")