Balenciaga’s Child Porn Advocacy: an Echo of Tony Podesta’s Disturbing Art Collection

The luxury fashion brand Balenciaga is under fire due to an ad campaign that showed a child model standing with a teddy bear that was wearing black leather and chains—in other words, BDSM apparel. People are outraged, and rightly so, but the episode points to a larger problem: the way the Left has embraced violent, pornographic, and disturbing art.

Remember the Podesta art collection? In 2016 it was revealed that the art collection of DNC bigwigs Tony and John Podesta was bizarre and really disturbing. The Podesta’s collection contained, as critic Michael J. Pearce described it, “weird genetically-mutated piggy-children sculptures and creepy photographs of men with children running away.” People were shocked to learn that this pillar of the Democratic Party owned a sculpture of a decapitated naked woman whose pose closely resembled a photo of one of Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims. Another installation in [Podesta’s] home included hyper-real sculpted hybrid human and pig figures, including piglet children.”

Pearce goes on: “suddenly, a powerful perception of a sick relationship between left-wing politics, avant-garde art, and pedophilia was established by media outlets covering the story.” The stuff even offended both mainstream and left-wing Democrats: “Intersectional Democratic Party members were horrified that the aesthetic taste of Podesta—one of their elite leaders—could include such offensive things. Party leaders seeking the middle-class vote were appalled at the offense to bourgeois values. The sculpture of the beheaded woman clearly offended feminist factions.

Pearce saw this disgusting display as one factor in the undermining of liberalism as the historical champions of great and modernist art. The other was how the Left have become philistines:

Instead of supporting art, left-wing intersectional activists have become busy iconoclasts, calling for the destruction of a painting of Emmet Till, throwing paint at public sculptures of Columbus and civil war monuments, spray painting slogans onto the iconic Unconditional Surrender statue in Sarasota. There’s nothing particularly new or exciting about iconoclasm, but it is unusual that the political motivation of these activists is leftist, because supporting artistic freedom of speech has been the default position of the American Left since the Second World War.

For a fuller idea of how the modern Left became the enemies of art, an article Pearce published in 2019 is helpful. Another blow, writes Pearce, “was tied to the world-changing catastrophe of 9/11. The academy was uncomfortable with the avant-garde’s failure to address multiculturalism, and the Federal government was uncomfortable with avant-garde obscenity.” People’s disgust with the art community’s embrace of shock art “came to a peak when the composer Stockhausen claimed the 9/11 attacks on our Twin Towers as the greatest artwork that ever existed in the entire cosmos.’”

In his book The Triumph of Modernism, the great art critic Hilton Kramer argues that when modernism emerged in the 20th century, the more conservative middle class embraced it. Housewives and normal Joes liked Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Odd Nerdrum, and Alex Katz. Kramer, one critic observed, “insisted upon Modernism as an essential component of bourgeois culture. He admires Modernist art and has less patience for the artworks made after Modernism, which he tends to interpret in terms of decline or degeneration.” Contemplating Matisse Kramer observed, “It is hard to believe that we shall ever again witness anything like it, now or in the foreseeable future.” Today, instead, we endure “the nihilist imperatives of the postmodernist scam.” 

Bingo. Faced with the fact that those dumb, racist, hayseed Americans actually understood and enjoyed modern art, the Left retreated to nihilism, censorship, wokeness, and provocations that degenerated into pornography. Pop music critics are setting parameters on what musicians can record. The German artist Jess de Wahls was briefly canceled by the Royal Academy (which subsequently apologized) after trans activists complained about a 2019 essay in which de Wahls argued that the intolerance of the LGBTQ community has made it impossible to call “an adult human female” a woman or to criticize the LGBTQ community.

In an her essay, Jess de Wahls perceptively compared the current climate produced by the crazy Left to the life she lived as a child under the German Stasi: 

Even your closest friends, or so we were told, could turn out to be working for the Stasi, the East German State Security Service, which has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies ever to have existed. 

Everyone may have been ‘equal’ but we certainly weren’t free to think and do what we wanted.

Certain TV programs from ‘The West’ were off limits, as was anything not in the ‘communist spirit’. If you were found to be guilty of ‘wrong think’ the consequences could be grave, including prison sentences or worse. (If you know little of East Germany, I highly recommend watching The Lives of Others and Goodbye Lenin, both incredible films that will give you a good taste of what life was like then.)

Balenziaga’s latest is all too typical of the attempted destruction of great Western art at the hands of our modern philistines. The fashion company has taken it so far that they have no defenders left—except maybe the Podestas.

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