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The Huntington: Bored With Beauty

| Opinion | September 26, 2019

Our nearby Huntington Library is celebrating its centennial by showing how bored they are with their collections, perhaps because they were collected to celebrate the heights of Western arts. While communities like San Marino have enforceable standards to ensure neighborhoods aren’t sullied by non-complying properties, their Huntington is trashing its own grounds and collections. No wisdom is required to obtain a doctorate or curatorship, only political correctness. An example of leftism affecting the arts is a 28 foot statue of a dog urinating on the side of an Orange County museum.

You have no doubt heard of even more outrageous examples. So I’ll say it: the Emperors of the Huntington have no clothes, demonstrated by juxtaposing “paint by the numbers” paintings next to masterpieces, and putting creepy sculpture on their otherwise classically beautiful grounds. This degrades rather than enhances the entire property, and is a declaration of mistaken artistic equivalence.

I know how much the Huntington is changing having finally published a book after 55 years of photographing the grounds. I’m still grateful for the reader’s card I was given when I left their staff 40 years ago. At that time, when the public phoned, we took the call. Or if a message was taken or letter received, we called or wrote back, and we didn’t have a supercilious, passive-aggressive attitude about it. The public wasn’t considered a nuisance. We lived within our means. More money (social class) didn’t mean more class (acting classy). Times may change, but the golden rule doesn’t. The left just chooses to ignore that rule.

Not all art is equal. Experts may claim so but don’t mean it, as they don’t spend money framing their own kid’s refrigerator scribbles. Yet they jam their agendas down our throats. If you like art you could do yourself, great, but putting dribbled paint amidst a collection of classic masterpieces makes it appear you are looking for some kind – any kind, of attention. Modernity doesn’t equate to superiority, for as the years pass this “art” won’t even be called “modern” anymore. People don’t arrive at the Huntington seeking to be jarred or repelled. Putting sculptures that do so in the gardens is adolescent, and adolescents, despite leftist beliefs, don’t know best. Why not graffiti them too – isn’t graffiti art? This comes from the collection and the visitors being held in contempt. People come to enjoy what is beautiful, and to leave feeling enriched, not defiled.

The Huntington used to display Franklin’s autobiography and Jefferson’s polygraph. Not now, as our Founders aren’t considered important by the left, rather they are dismissed. What will be next on the left’s guillotine – the Shakespeare collection? (UCLA does not require a single class in Shakespeare to graduate as an English major.) The Gutenberg Bible? (It is a “Bible” after all.) The left wants to destroy the Founders for being males, of European decent, holding a Judeo-Christian value system, independence of thought, and other values of Western Civilization. The Huntington Mausoleum and Jefferson’s Memorial were designed by the same man – a connection the left must despise. Watch them get rid of Huntington too, as they have his dying wish to keep entrance free, rather than using grants and fees to build huge administrative edifices to ego. The Huntington needs to turn around or it will continue to degrade artistically and attitudinally. C.S. Lewis put it this way: “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road …. the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

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Richard Hood, former Rare Book staff memeber and retired teacher recommends the documentary “My Kid Could Paint That”

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About Richard Hood

Richard Hood is a retired history teacher.

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