We’re in trouble now, folks. I mean, we’ve dealt with anti-gun politicians, musicians, and actors for years, but our goose is well and truly cooked now. It seems that not only do we have to contend with these powerful voices that help shape American culture bashing our right to keep and bear arms, but now we have to contend with the truly powerful.
A creative force unlike any we have faced before is aligned against us. That’s right. Now we have to deal with the anti-gun message of a quilt museum!
The gun control issue addressed by the current exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is meant to inspire the kind of discussion that keeps people up at night.
“I wanted to insert more social and political issues into our exhibit calendar,” said Curator Amy DiPlacido. “A lot of works in this show would never get put on a bed.”
“Guns: Loaded Conversations” came about after the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016, which left 49 dead and 53 wounded.
“At the time, the politics of gun control were on everyone’s mind,” DiPlacido said. “The shooting happened without any solid (political) action afterward.”
On the artistic front, the international nonprofit Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) put together a traveling exhibit on gun violence and gun control in the wake of the Pulse shootings. Thirty of the works in “Loaded Conversations” are by SAQA artists; DiPlacido curated an additional 10 pieces for the San Jose stop on the exhibit’s three-year tour.
Oh, we’re in trouble now.
To be fair, the curator argues that the intention wasn’t to dictate but to be a neutral presenter. “So much in the news has been polarizing,” DiPlacido told The Mercury News. “Art can cover the middle ground.”
But, it doesn’t. Not really. Not based on the pieces described in the article, at least.
If art of any kind is going to cover middle ground, then it has to be sought out specifically. You can’t just trust artists–most of which lean so far toward anti-gun that if they leaned any further, they’d fall over–to suddenly be moderate on such a volatile issue. Instead, they predictably seem to mostly toe the anti-gun line.
Which is fine because, well, it’s a quilt museum.
As things stand, we’ve dealt with the onslaught from members of Congress, a hostile White House, and the combined forces of Hollywood on both the silver screen and the small one. We’ve taken everything they could throw at us, that they can still throw at us, and we’re standing strong. I’m pretty sure the quilt museum isn’t going to tip the balance at this point.
But it is enlightening to see what passes for neutral these days. If the artwork in question does present both sides of the issue, which I doubt it does, then the lack of neutrality falls on the journalist who reported on this exhibit and failed to present both sides. Either way, someone isn’t as neutral as they like to claim. Possibly both.