BYH to the city Public Works department for paying for an expensive public input session on sidewalks and not telling...

Museum fuels hatred in foreign land


Marc Thiessen


Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain, is a masterpiece of American architecture, a swirl of curved configurations crafted out of sheets of titanium by Frank Gehry. But step inside the stunning structure, and the celebration of America is over.

Most of the second floor is dedicated to the works of American artist Jenny Holzer, who seems to be filled with loathing for the land of her birth. As you enter one gallery, you are greeted with an exhibit called the "Inflammatory Essays," a series of posters printed on colored paper and containing the artist's various manifestos.

They were originally pasted throughout the public spaces of New York City, and now plaster the walls of the gallery in a rainbow of geometric designs. The presentation is beautiful, but the sentiments are anything but.

The first one I see, right by the door, is titled, in all caps: “The End of the U.S.A.” In all-caps it continues: “All you rich f--- see the beginning of the end and take what you can while your can. You imagine that you will get away, but you’ve sh-- in your own bed and now you’re the one to sleep in it. Why should everyone else stay behind and smell your stinking cowardice? Here’s a message to you — space travel is uncertain and any refuge of yours can be blown off the map. There’s no other place for you to go. Know that your future is with us so don’t give us more reasons to hate you.”

Charming. The posters are helpfully translated into Basque, Spanish, French and German, so that visitors from many lands can take in Holzer's sentiments and, according to the Guggenheim, "consider the necessity of social change, propaganda's potential to manipulate the public, and the conditions that attend revolution."

In another gallery, Holzer has created paintings out of redacted U.S. government documents relating to interrogation of terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some canvasses show intelligence documents with the black redaction lines in gold and silver leaf, while others are blowups of handwritten statements by detainees alleging all kinds of horrific abuses at the hands of Americans.

Nowhere is it noted that terrorists were trained to lie about abuses in custody, that multiple government investigations found that no torture took place at Guantanamo Bay or that when abuses did take place, as they did in Abu Ghraib, abusers were investigated and punished.

The vast majority of U.S. personnel responsible for detaining and questioning terrorists served with honor to prevent another attack such as the one we suffered on Sept. 11, 2001. But if you came through the exhibit, you would think that the American military was the modern-day equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition.

Not all her works are so offensive. In one exhibit, a four-sided vertical LED sign swings from the ceiling with scrolling first-person accounts from those detained and tortured by the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. But even here, the juxtaposition of this exhibit with the redacted military documents seems designed to send a subtle message that there is really no moral distinction between Assad and America — both are torture regimes.

In fact, it was the U.S. armed forces that struck Assad's regime to stop his use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians and drove the Islamic State from its murderous caliphate. The men and women of the U.S. military risk their lives every day to protect us from evil men bent on our destruction. Their courageous service gives Holzer the freedom to produce her art.

It's no surprise that the art world is left wing. But the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao — an institution owned by an American foundation, in the heart of Spain — has turned itself into something worse: an instrument of anti-American propaganda. The museum is spreading calumnies against the men and women of the U.S. military and fueling hatred of America in a foreign land.

Among the redacted documents in the gallery, one of her most recent works is displayed — a massive rendering of a page from special counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of Paul Manafort. Missing from the exhibit was the page from the actual Mueller report that declared there was no conspiracy with Russia. She has yet to turn that redacted document into art. I'm sure she's working on it.

Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen served as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

May 20, 2019 - 16 minutes ago

North Carolina appropriates less taxpayer money to state colleges and universities in real terms than it did before the onset of the Great Recession. Tuition has risen markedly and now accounts for a larger share of total revenue. But our state remains one of the most generous in the country when…

john hood.jpg

May 20, 2019 - 16 minutes ago

How many people have the ability to manipulate the stock market? One, and this isn’t a trick question. We’re watching how President Trump’s statements about slapping tariffs on China one day, or the great headway he’s making on a China trade deal the next day can tank the…


May 19, 2019

The Washington Post

The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has said she does not think anyone would argue that the perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre should have been able to livestream mass murder. Maybe that question elicits something close to unanimity — but in trying to…

May 19, 2019

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, adding his voice to calls to "break up" the social media giant, calls it a "powerful monopoly, eclipsing all of its rivals and erasing competition." In recent years, we've seen similar claims, and heard demands for similar remedies, aimed at Google, Amazon, and…


May 19, 2019

With a competent president in the White House, the escalating confrontation with Iran would not rise to the level of crisis. With President Trump calling the shots, we should be afraid. Very afraid.

A rational president, of course, would not have abandoned the landmark deal that halted Iran's…

Eugene Robinson

May 18, 2019

I’ve been watching the emerging election for North Carolina’s Senate seat and wonder if we are seeing symptoms of a larger trend. Our traditional tribalism — Republicans and Democrats — has morphed into contentious sub-tribes within each party. Instead of a sure re-…

Tom Campbell.jpg

May 17, 2019

Tom McCuin served two tours as an Army public affairs officer in Afghanistan and worked closely with local nationals hired by American forces.

"They were not only our language interpreters, they were our cultural interpreters," McCuin wrote on clearancejobs.com, a site that lists openings for…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

May 16, 2019

Congressional elections in odd-numbered years? Odd is certainly one way to describe what many North Carolinians are experiencing right now. But in some ways, the special elections of 2019 are confirming rather than breaking the political rules.

Those elections are in the 3rd District, which spans…

john hood.jpg

May 15, 2019

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University Richard Vedder's new book, "Restoring the Promise," published by the Independent Institute based in Oakland, California, is about the crisis in higher education. He summarizes the three major problems faced by America's colleges and…

Walter Williams

May 14, 2019

We were hopeful that this would be the year North Carolina changed the way it does redistricting for congressional and General Assembly seats. After all, we’ve been slapped by the courts so many times we’ve lost count. Our record is so bad that the U.S. Supreme Court, which has long…

255 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 26
        Next Page»   Last Page»