Activist Art

Art is not, or does not have to be, cheery. It turns out that people become troubled and conflicted when they see pictures of the hungry and the homeless just weeks before Thanksgiving and the start of the holidays.

The Nashua Telegraph takes up the story here: A new exhibit in the Town Hall Gallery, designed to raise awareness of and funds for the Open Cupboard Food Pantry, has gathered some complaints from residents and prompted the Board of Selectmen to suggest that it be removed. The exhibit consists of a selection of black- and-white photographs taken by resident Preston Heller of urban street scenes and various people he describes as being at the bottom of the social ladder.’

UPDATE Nov-18-2002: NHPR reported on this story today, and linked to the photographer’s online gallery.

And, just to make sure this makes it into the record, here’s one of the comments; very sarcastic, very funny: I was walking through the Wilton Town Hall on the way to complain about my mansion’s increased assessment when I was assaulted by images of unwashed, ragged men and women. It made me recall those days when I was on diamond buying junkets in Johannesburg, and I had to step over starving people in the streets and bat their outstretched palms from my face. As a wealthy, soulless white male, I don’t see why my carefully selected and controlled aesthetic environment should be interrupted by these images of poverty and human degradation. I bought Microsoft as an IPO, so if I don’t want to view such dereliction, why should I be forcibly made to view these images? My poor little daughter Tiffany was with me when I walked through the town hall, and she was so upset by the pictures that she wouldn’t stop crying until I promised to buy her another pony.