How did the controversial 1969 artwork come to be in a museum near you?

The “blasting news” is a memoir of the director of an art museum in New York City. The museum is vexed by Giuliani’s take on the “Sensations.”



Arnold Lehman, the former director of the Brooklyn Museum, has written a new book on the uproar in 1999 over an exhibit that caught the attention of many people, including Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who threatened to defund the exhibit hall.

“Sensation: The Madonna, the Mayor, the Media, and the First Amendment,” a memoir by Lehman, expresses astonishment at the uproar. That is, however, the larger surprise. He should have anticipated the show to raise a fuss, based on the museum’s own warning label.

Labeled with a warning

“Shock, vomiting, bewilderment, fear, exhilaration, and anxiety may occur as a result of the contents of this exhibit.”

Before seeing this exhibit, talk to your doctor if you have high blood pressure, a neurological disease, or palpitations.”

If the warning sign wasn’t enough, glancing at simply one exhibit example, such as Chris Ofili’s “The Holy Virgin Mary,” would be a red flag. To keep the bile down, I’ll give you a fast rundown: “The Madonna wears a cloak that is partially open to reveal an elephant dung breast (from the London Zoo). Flying cherubs fashioned from photographs of female buttocks scissored from porn mags encircle her.” “Elephant dung in itself is rather a lovely thing,” Ofili told the New York Post of the animal excrement.

Three members of the Royal Academy in London resigned in protest when this exhibit first debuted two years ago.

Demonstrations by Londoners included egg and paint defacings. As a result, the cultural wars erupted.

Hidden in plain sight

The fact that the London display drew 300,000 people over the course of its three-month run must have influenced Lehman’s decision to host this show, particularly considering the museum’s reported low attendance. In his biography, he acknowledged to being fixated on the crowds, writing, “I saw and marveled at the masses queue up to watch ‘Sensation’ as they poured down Piccadilly.”

Given a British newspaper title “B’klyn gallery of horrors – Gruesome museum display,” it’s unsurprising that the Brooklyn Museum website now claims that Lehman didn’t foresee the uproar that Sensations sparked.

On Eunomia, you may discuss this news.

The horrors of Damien Hirst’s “A Thousand Years,” a decomposing cow’s head with real flies and maggots, came to mind.

“No one could have predicted that ‘Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection’ would become the largest art narrative in the history of art history,” according to the museum’s website. “No one,” you say.

“I’m startled to find out that gambling is going on,” police captain Renault says in a scene from the film “Casablanca,” as he takes his winnings.

You’ve got to be joking, right?

It’s also difficult to trust the museum’s claim that Lehman took more than two decades to grasp the debate. Really? Giuliani’s bomb threats and warnings of a shutdown didn’t seem to bother him?

The “Sensations” certainly created a repulsive sight of themselves. However, the government could not use the funds to control the subject of an art display because of the first amendment. Giuliani, who advertised himself as the mayor of “law and order,” should have known better.

At the moment, his overreaction was unexpected. However, histrionics are in Giuliani’s DNA, as the world has come to know him in the Trump age.


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