Jun
18
2019

Girl in a Red Balloon

By Katie Kieffer

Image credit: Steve Baker on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Two legs—jutting from a large red balloon—struggle to navigate between rows of gawkers. Women follow the red balloon girl—each covered from head to torso in a brightly colored balloon. They look like walking gumballs. 

This isn’t a creepy Halloween party. It’s the fashion runway show for an “artistic collection” devised by a young man who, last month, took home L’Oréal’s prestigious “Young Talent Award.” 

Balloons hid most of the women’s faces. At one point, a model deflated her balloon—revealing a plastic “garment” transparent in areas where women typically wear undergarments. Meanwhile, unlike the female models, the lone male model’s head was unobstructed by a balloon and his plastic garb was opaque rather than diaphanous. The “artist’s” visual statement seemed to be: Women should be seen and not heard—unless they are seen explicitly. 

Unfortunately, this sexist imagery was lost on women’s magazines likeBazaar, which sang the praises of “mind-blowing” fashion “innovation.” 

Mind-blowing indeed. You may need to destroy brain cells to view these balloons as fine art. 

If First Lady Melania Trump—a former fashion model—wore the same balloon down a catwalk, she’d be declared the “Empress in New Clothes.” This was not high art. At best the balloon dresses were senseless; at worst, a portion of the fashion show was basically pornographic.

Art is visual expression but clothing is a unique form of visual expression in that it is fundamentally functional and serves to preserve dignity. When clothing completely loses its functional quality, the person wearing that clothing is more likely objectified than dignified.  

Today I will explore ways in which progressives are pushing gaucherie on our young people, and calling it “fine art,” in hopes of encouraging parents and educators to take preventative action.

Democrats Push Porn as Educational Art

As a Midwestern gal, I tip my hat to the “Deplorable Housewives of the Midwest” for bringing to my attention the fact that Planned Parenthood is promoting a pornographic book called “It’s Perfectly Normal” to all children “ages 10 and up”—and successfully getting Democrats to push this book, and similar curricula, in classrooms.

Planned Parenthood must encourage its staff to rate “It’s Perfectly Normal” on Amazon, because it’s hard to imagine that real parents helped this book achieve its nearly five-star rating. The book portrays sexual acts with very explicit illustrations of nude boys and girls by so-called artist, Michael Emberley. 

Yes, at some point every young adult has sexual urges. But our artwork can either raise young people up and inspire them to pour their energies into a sport; volunteerism; academics; travel; or learning languages—or to mistakenly retreat into the darkness of themselves in search of love. 

Art should teach young people the truth: love—and its fruit, pleasure—are found in giving oneself.

It’s interesting that counselors for modern Christian couples are promoting books with the exact opposite message of books which Planned Parenthood is promoting for 10-year-olds. The book, “It’s Perfectly Normal,” teaches children that “anal sex” is normal and therefore healthy.

In contrast, Dr. David Delaney’s book for Christian couples, “The Great Mystery,” teaches young men on anal sex: ‘Subjecting one’s wife to such trauma (physical and regardless of consent, also spiritual-psychological trauma) by “using” her selfishly in a way for which God did not create, is not an act of love. And there is the great risk of physical trauma, including hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anorectal trauma and anal cancer.’

There are also no graphic images in Dr. Delaney’s book because he understands that young adults don’t need a graphic paint-by-numbers chart to follow their instincts. Instead, humans need guidance on directing their instincts toward truth, love and goodness.

Paying for Child’s Play

One of my book club friends has a large framed collage of multicolored lines hanging in his elegant living room. With a smile, he informed our book club (comprised of people who value classical visual and literary art) that, no, he did not pay thousands of dollars for this “modern art;” it was designed by his child.

Politicians in San Antonio, TX meanwhile are spending half-a-million dollars on a piece of art called “Creek Lines” nearly identical to what his child created with strips of colorful paper.

Creek Lines is comprised of thirty stainless steel poles covered by a stainless steel canopy resembling crumpled tin foil—and looks like it will fall down with a gentle breeze. Last week, Bexar County Commissioners approved this $425,000 “public art” for the entrance of San Pedro Creek Culture Park.

Creek Lines is not self-explanatory, nor does it inspire the mind in the manner of artistic masters like Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, or Edgar Degas. Indeed, the San Antonio River Authority will also spend $125,000 on an “educational component tied to the piece” to help park visitors connect the dots between tin foil and San Antonio’s rich cultural history.

Politicians like meaningless art because it is “inclusive” and “representative” of all. It’s impossible to offend anyone (unless the art brings to mind a historical event dealing with a marginalized group). Unfortunately, it’s also impossible to inspireanyone because beauty–not emptiness–stirs the soul. Politicians use our money for public art, so they also ignore the fact that using high quality materials to build simplistic sculptures is as expensive as commissioning true craftsmanship.

My friend’s child’s art was meaningless to me—but meaningful to him and his wife because it represented their child’s love. The child’s audience—his parents—didn’t require an educational component to understand their child’s creation. Public art should likewise be meaningful to its audience—we the people—because it is ostensibly built for us and because we pay for it. 

We have lost any common anchor or vision as a society and thus our art represents nothingness; a sense of being “lost at sea” without even any romantic beauty; simply grey.

Next time, let’s buy a kindergartener’s design. They’ll sell for under $100. Or, better yet, let’s build truly beautiful art that will inspire humans to greater love, compassion and innovation.

Beautiful Art Helps Young People Stay Sane

Sunsets, Michael Angelo’s Sistine Chapel, and the Notre Dame Cathedralareartistic creations—of God or man—whereas balloons, expletives and pornographic material arenot fineart. Yet major museums including the Guggenheim in Spain, fashion shows, and high school teachers are displaying rubbish as “art”– confusing young people – and contributing to their increasing levels of mania.

I’m a Millennial. I’m part of a generation that doesn’t consider themselves to be adults until age 30. We love therapy squirrels (despite little evidence that any animal is “therapeutic”). As a group, we are more suicidal, depressed and anxious than our parents and grandparents. We are protesting in the streets—breaking storefront windows in Paris over “climate change” and hopping fences to break into a French hospital’s ICU unit (thanks in part to some parents who “offshored” parenting.) 

Basically, “adulting” is tough for us. And public artwork mirroring a child’s doodle isn’t helping us emotionally mature any faster. I’m not saying that beautiful art will completely solve society’s puerile pouting spells. If only the salve were so simple! 

You and I must repair our society’s broken foundation—the family. It begins with individual people choosing to be better. (Bad art doesn’t appear to guilt-trip humans into behaving morally.) As you and I improve ourselves, we will empower others to do likewise—whether they are eight, 38, or 98 years old.

Art comes into play by giving us day-to-day inspiration to stay true to our values and hopeful in a Creator (and a marvelous creation) that is bigger than ourselves.

Proof that beautiful art is more uplifting than ugliness lies within the copious amounts of research proving how uplifted—physically and mentally—human beings feel after going on a simple 60 or 90 minute walk outdoors

Research from The Brookings Institution also shows that art can be a powerful influencer and educational booster for children. Let’s simply ensure that what we are presenting our children with as “art”—is truly beautiful, wholesome and good—not a girl struggling to walk and talk in a red balloon.

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Comments...

  1. Rick says:

    Oh … and here is another terrific “60 Minutes” full story that was critical of modern art over 25 years ago … I still remember watching this episode on TV as the producers showed dumb things like toilets and urinals hanging up on the museum walls!

    See: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PjXKsZZ_pWc

  2. Rick says:

    Katie … your column reminds me of a favorite old curmudgeon, the late Andy Rooney, who would opine weekly on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

    BTW … Andy Rooney was a WWII Veteran, a member of America’s “Greatest Generation.”

    It looks as though you, a Millennial, and Rooney, of the WWII Generation, have much in common, including great taste in art!

    Maybe the generations are not that far apart …

    G’day!

    See: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bsfX6xqCBks

  3. Platt Brabner says:

    Bravo, Katie!

    Vonda and I are living in a beautiful world on our ranch in Texas. Your article is invaluable to young parents in defending against the social indoctrination of people who don’t have visibility outside the urban environment and its meaningless influences.

    Remain strong and diligent in your uncovering of the truth!

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