Friday, February 06, 2009

The Paintings by Maureen Mullarkey are Malarkey

Anyone who follows the Myartspace Blog knows that I have a low opinion of people who lack integrity-- especially artists who lack integrity in regards to their art and the message they convey within it. There is nothing worse than an artist who promotes an idea visually when in reality he or she does not support the message that he or she is conveying to viewers. I learned from Edward Winkleman’s blog that another artist has been exposed for lack of integrity within the context of her art-- that artist is, Maureen Mullarkey.

Mullarkey, who is widely known for creating colorful canvases of gay pride parades and drag queens donated $1,000 to help pass California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The Daily News claims that their review of campaign records shows that Mullarkey made her “sizable contribution”-- many only donated between $100 and $400-- of $1,000 to the National Organization for Marriage’s “Yes on 8” fund sometime in June of 2008. In all over $40 million was raised to support Proposition 8 groups.

According to the Daily News said groups helped convince California voters to overturn an earlier court decision that granted same sex couples the right to marry. Thus, it is alarming that Mullarkey-- a visual artist who has long been considered an advocate for the gay community-- would donate money to a cause that contradicts her visual message. Indeed, a word very close to Mullarkey’s surname best describes her deceit-- that word being malarkey.

Mullarkey was questioned by reporters outside of her home. A reporter asked Mullarkey how she could donate money to help fight gay marriage considering that she has made money from depictions of gays-- to which Mullarkey responded, “So?”. Mullarkey then threatened to file a lawsuit against the reporter if her answer was published, stating, “"If you write that story, I'll sue you,". Obviously the reporter was not shaken by Mullarkey’s words-- perhaps the reporter considered her words malarkey?

Maureen Mullarkey has since made statements about her donation. Mullarkey claims that artists who supported Proposition 8-- such as herself-- have experienced intimidation since the media released the names of those who donated money to fight gay marriage. She has stated that she supported Proposition 8 because, "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.”. Which begs the question-- if that is how she feels why on earth did she create works of art that-- up until this time -- empowered the gay community? By implication her words suggest that gays are biologically flawed as far as nature is concerned and that they do not ‘fit’ within civilization-- so why did she create and profit off of art that contradicts her views?

Mullarkey compared criticism of her choice to “Nazi brownshirt tactics." She also stated that, "Artists are not in the habit of imposing ideological conformity on one another or demanding it from others," followed by, "Moreover, regard for individual gay persons does not require assent to a politicized assault on bedrock social reality and the common good.". Common good?

So let me get this straight-- Maureen Mullarkey, who has made a decent living selling paintings depicting her perception of the gay community, a woman who has called the gay community “marvelous”, is now suggesting that same sex couples should not marry because it is for the “common good”? Where is her integrity! The message in her art is lost forever as far as I’m concerned.

The most sickening aspect of this story is that the money that Maureen Mullarkey earned from selling her art may have ended up as part of her donation in support of Proposition 8. Mullarkey’s choice to donate money to a cause banning gay marriage places the validity of her work in question. After all, she has long praised the solidarity of the gay community which she describes as “marvelous”. Obviously she does not think that gays are “marvelous”-- it seems, as Edward Winkleman pointed out on his blog, she views gays as second-class citizens. Integrity is once again lost.

In the past Mullarkey has said of her work, “A canvas is not a court room and rules of evidence do not apply. There are different ways of conducting a truthful investigation of one’s subject, of testifying to life.”. All I can say to that is that the verdict is in-- Maureen Mullarkey has been judged-- within the realm of opinion-- by her peers and found to be an opportunist lacking integrity.

Links of Interest:

Artist draws gays' ire for same-sex nups ban support by Nancy Dillon -- NY Daily News

Chappaqua artist of gay themes defends Prop 8 support by Elizabeth Ganga --LoHud

Talking About Biting the Hand That Feeds You by Edward Winkleman -- Winkleman Blog

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
New York Art Exchange


Anonymous said...

IMO Maureen seems like a highly disturbed person. Likely she battles with her own sexuality and that is why she has been drawn to depict homosexuals in her artwork. It is a way for her to explore that which her religion preached was morally wrong. She may even be lesbian/bi-sexual herself, but is so appalled by those feelings that she pays "penance" by supporting a ban on gay marriage.

We see it time and time again....the preacher who is so anti-gay caught in the hotel room with a gay prostitute.

Humans are complex creatures and Maureen is no exception. If anything I pity her. She is very confused inside which is not a great place to be your entire life.


Anonymous said...

Well, Brian, if you look at her paintings, you'll notice she isn't exactly sympathetic to her subjects. She is sensitive, but exposes their frailties. They are her 'hook.'

I don't see compassion or understanding. I see voyeurism.

I don't find it at all surprising that she is against same sex marriage. What I find surprising is that the gay community embraced her work in the first place. Just because someone portrays a subject doesn't necessarily indicate adherence to that subject's lifestyle. In fact, the handling of the work can be a testament against it.

Technically her work is very good. Perhaps it's just a misunderstanding of her message that is to blame. I wonder if she has tried to pass herself off as a gay rights supporter. I think that's the question I'd want to have answered.

Lee Rowan said...

She probably finds puppies and kittehs "marvelous," too -- but wouldn't want her brother to marry one.

This is nothing new, though - she's just following the example of that extremely well-advertised (and highly litigious) women's workout franchise that funds anti-choice fanatics.

I'd rather have ten honest enemies than one two-faced friend. She doesn't like the criticism? Try a little integrity!

I write gay romance.. and my wife and I moved to Canada so our marriage could be legal. Hypocrites like this woman are full of worse than "Malarky"

Donald Frazell said...

I dont see the problem here. It is a little weird after claiming the gay world she depicts, which I havent viewed and seen enough of it already to not want to, that it is marvelous. But its her right, she made them famous, not the other way around. Since when has a motif been what makes a work of art? Well, nowadays with bad Contempt art it is, its all salemanship, not truth.

Personally, I dont give a damn. And i live here in SoCal, and work with graphic designers and such in the production business. However, they are ALL wrong. Marriage is, always has, been, always will be, about children. It is bonding two families together so the kids are protected and have homes no matter what. That is the very basis of marriage. Now, as gays dont have kids outside of test tubes, and yes lesbians do that in droves, and previous romantic entaglements, marriage is not a life or death issue for gays.

But these days, everything is about ME. Guess what, most things arent, you come and go, humanity remains. Get over yourselves. Now, the otherside is equally delusional, so like the death penalty, which I dont like because of inherent mistakes, but will leave upto the citizens to vote on. I will vote against both approaches, death and no to gay marriage, because its not really my call, but again. The gay crowd is completley wrong in their Meist approach.

Its not about individual rights, which are ALWAYS weighed against the common good. Thats why we have courts to decide upon the merits of each. But seldom is one completely right over the other. Ballance people. And marriage is NOT about love, its about family. Period.

Death to Meism, responsibility is here. stop whining, and get to work.

art collegia delenda est

Jewelry Lady said...

Well her name is Mullarkey...isnt that another metaphor for B.S.?

Donald Frazell said...

oooops, made a mistake, i am not against gay marriage, just find its proponents arguments absurd. I dont really care, not my business, but again. Marraige is NOT about a couple, its about the coupling, kids, families, social structure.

Now, I got invited to a demonstration againt the Props winning, I was actually shocked it passed. I didnt go, didnt exaclty want to watch a transvestite king and "queen" at the event. Stop the theatrical BS, and gays will win this one.
That is why heteros get upset, stop being decadent, its not funny to most of us, just annoying. I know its like for the English dressing in drag, bur really. 100% of the time? Just be NORMAL human beings first, then it will win. And it will, eventualy, unless this depression really gets society to fall apart, something far more important and serious than this stuff.

Can we all stop being selfish for just a minute here? Its not life and death, plenty of laws giving gays the same legal rights as married heteros. Work on the social end first, that is the one that is important, and being cute and flamboyant is, well, not cute and very annoying. Truth.

art collegia delenda est

marilee salvator said...

wow, this is quite disturbing. I just went and looked at some of her work. I was not familiar with it.

I must say I agree with the second anonymous person to some degree. They are voyeuristic. But, she has not lead on that this was her view until she was forced to by that reporter. If she had any respect for other people I would think that she would feel that it was her responsibility to explain why she really was painting these images. Especially once she realized that members of the gay community thought that she was being supportive of them.

As for Fransell's commentary, I noticed a lot contradictions within the posts which made his arguments less than convincing.

Regardless of that, I want to respond to one of his theories related to marriage and children. Marriage is to protect children. He makes the comment,

"Now, as gays dont have kids outside of test tubes, and yes lesbians do that in droves, and previous romantic entanglements, marriage is not a life or death issue for gays. "

Um, if a baby is created in a test tube or from "previous romantic entanglements" does that mean it should not be protected? If this is the true point of marriage Id say that the argument supports gay marriage just as much as it does heterosexual marriage. Its not like "droves of lesbians" are the only people who use test tubes to get pregnant. "droves" of heterosexual women do the same thing Donald. Speaking of balance, perhaps his argument is a bit off it?

Donald Frazell said...

Not at all, if you had read what i wrote, I am not for either sides arguments, they are both irrelvant and selfish. i dont care if gays get married or not, but they are fighting over a word, not a reality. Here in Cali, gays have the same rights as the married, just not called it. Except when it comes tot kids, and when lesbians are in relationships and a child from a previous mate is involved, thaaht man is the father, not the new mother, she is step mom, and that is not covered by the law.

So an irrelevant topic, unless dad is out of the picture. And in any case, adopt the child, then you are moms or pops, that should be the case, and can be made if either test tube or one biological mom. But probably wont happen as far as a couple trying to adopt a stranger. That is more of a topic to be discussed adn far more important, this marriage thing is cosmetic. marriage still is, and always has been, about kids. Just different things going on now that never existed before, and current laws in Cali cover most of them.

And by the way, many gays were FOR Prop 8, the thought of having to get married scared the hell out of many. Living in THE lesbian city, and near THE gay city of WeHO, htis i know, would be very interesting to see a poll on that, but will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, illuminating look at this so called artist/critic.

There once was an artist Mullarkey
the pictures she called just a larky
she said they were gay
but we say no way
she supported prop 8
what a snarky!