Back in the early days of the culture wars, around 1990, a terrible man named Jessie Helms started stirring up shit by saying the National Endowment for the Arts was little more than a bankroll for homosexuals, communists and people who rip the tags off of mattresses.
He pointed to four contemporary artists in particular, who had received some amount of grant money from the NEA, as examples of the organization’s complete moral decay: Karen Finley, John Fleck, and Holly Hughes and Tim Miller (left). And after the right-wingers starting belly-aching, the grants for all four were withdrawn. (To this day, the NEA no longer funds individual artists)
Fast forward past court cases—in which the NEA Four get their grant money back—and years of change, evolution and art. And Tim Miller is still getting the middle finger from The Man.
Just this week, Villanova University canceled a five-day workshop on personal narrative by Miller, an award-winning performance artist who covers issues regarding gender, AIDS, the body and gay-male relationships. Oh, and he often takes his clothes off.
The workshop was scheduled for April but Miller was just notified on Sunday that it had been nixed.
Miller wasn’t told why the class was cancelled but, he told the Associated Press, “the thing that they worry about, I think, is that I am a gay person… with political opinions.”
So, in conclusion, it’s not because Miller is gay, even though the Catholic Church condemns homosexuality. Nope, nothing to do with it. Something else entirely.
Photos via Feast of Fools, Dona Ann McAdams