Monday, May 6, 2019

Summing up Rahm's role as the arts mayor

Rahm sold off this public art masterpiece by Kerry James Marshall...

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
is on what I call, his image rehabilitation tour. In the process, he's trying to repaint his image from that of a closer of schools, libraries and public space, into a patron of the arts and philanthropist.
...and fought a losing battle for this. 

It's sad watching local media play along with this charade. See for example, Mary Mitchell's recent column with the headline: Mayor Rahm Emanuel to put his money where his heart is. 

Two things wrong here. One, the money wasn't his. It was a million bucks left in his campaign fund. Two, his heart is where his money is, not the other way around.

It did my heart good to hear that Mayor 1% is still pissed that we ran his pal George Lucas, along with his hideous Star Wars Museum out of town.
" It became a jihad," cried Rahm, reverting to his IDF persona. 
"You had the power of Lucas Films and someone willing to give $150 or $175 million to the city in philanthropy". 
Funny, I never saw that offer in writing. What I saw was a mayor willing to give a billionaire movie mogul public park land for his for-profit amusement show.

Anyway, whenever Rahm's pissed, I'm happy.

But it turns out, losing that gross-looking museum wasn't the mayor's biggest "arts" regret. That one was rightfully his shameful selling off of the great Kerry James Marshall work of public art.

Here's how Marshall took it:
“It just seemed like a way of exploiting the work of artists in the city for short-term gain in a really shortsighted kind of way,” he said of the plan to auction off “Knowledge and Wonder,” which Marshall painted for the Legler Branch public library on the West Side, in order to reap an expected multimillion dollar windfall that would pay for upgrading the Legler. “And so I made a decision at that time I would never do another public work.”
So to sum up Rahm's history as a steward of Chicago arts: He fought like hell for the Star Wars Museum in order to kiss a billionaire's ass in exchange for hoped-for philanthropic handouts while selling off a public arts masterpiece by one of the great African-American artists for a quick hit of cash. 

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