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,
New York Art Exchange