Atlas Empress, by Maureen Mullarkey
CHAPPAQUA - Artist Maureen Mullarkey, known in the gay community for paintings depicting drag queens and scenes inspired by gay pride parades, responded to criticism of her donation to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California this week by attacking the intimidation of artists who supported Proposition 8.
Mullarkey said she supported the measure, which passed in November overturning an earlier court ruling legalizing gay marriage in California, because she believes "marriage is the union of husband and wife - a premise so simple, so fundamental that nature and civilization itself both testify to the truth of it."
Gay rights groups and Web commentators said Mullarkey was hypocritical to make money off gay people and then donate it to a cause that denying them what they consider a fundamental legal right.
Mullarkey likened the attacks to Nazi "brownshirt tactics."
"Artists are not in the habit of imposing ideological conformity on one another or demanding it from others," she said. "Moreover, regard for individual gay persons does not require assent to a politicized assault on bedrock social reality and the common good."
Bravo Maureen! I echo that last bit, “politicized assault on bedrock social reality and the common good.” So true. By the way, if you’re wondering why someone would want to paint images from a Pride Parade (because I did…wonder, that is), this is what she says on her website:
Why the Gay Pride Parade as a source of imagery?
Because it is marvelous spectacle, an iconographic lode. There is so much to look at. Art is not about “appreciating.” It is about looking. People get accustomed to viewing art through a filter of words: theories, press releases, the pieties of art appreciation. Spectacle cuts through the static.
But wouldn’t any parade do the same thing?
Not for me. I’ve never really like parades that much. How many marching bands can you take before your eyes glaze over? But when the majorette is a middle-aged man in a tutu and sneakers you know you are not in Kansas and you might want to stay awake.