File this under: "A little birdie told me." A source close to the New York City art world shared some dirt early today. "It's really incredible, really," the art insider mused regarding a few items of interest publicly available on the Facebook wall of New York magazine writer and art critic <a href="https://www.facebook.com/jerry.saltz">Jerry Saltz</a>. The most recent post available on Saltz's profile feature him documenting his <a href="http://statelaws.findlaw.com/new-york-law/new-york-vandalism-laws.html">(criminal?) tampering</a> with the placard at the David H. Koch Plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, his attempt to "take back our museum from a climate denier."
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<blockquote> Paper, scotch-tape, 22-minutes after a great visit to the Met.Being critical of art is a way of showing art respect.</blockquote>
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Exactly how littering (which is what happens when the Scotch tape comes unhinged and the "reclamation" goes fluttering off in the wind) saves the environment or "takes back" the Met is anybody's guess, but there definitely seems to be precedent in New York City for such actions being charged as criminal mischief and vandalism. The Deli has reported the case of a "rocker type" receiving 6 months probation and several hours in a holding cell just for sticker slapping. There are actually multiple cases in NYC that resulted in vandalism/criminal mischief charges where <a href="http://thedelimagazine.com/kitchen/articles/stickers.htm">stickers were the only implement</a>. That said, were Salz to be arrested and spend a couple hours downtown, I'm certain he'd be thrilled at his chance to be a "martyr" to his beliefs practicing a petty sort of Thoreauvian "civil disobedience."
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Even more disturbing, however, is what is found a few posts down, from the February 22 post related to Dana Loesch. Todd Levin responds to Jerry Saltz's post about NRA rep Loescher's comment about CNN's Rick Sanchez being fired.
Todd Levin: Jerry: Actually, I'd be "thrilled" if a Jew was actually responsible for firing that f*er Sanchez - there's nothing to remotely apologize for. And in addition, Dana Loesch better watch her fat ass, because I have no problem acknowledging that Jews control the media. We're very smart, and we're very ambitious and we will eventually fk her over and kick her to the curb with other garbage.
Ray Smith: Damn! I wanna help!!
John Cheim: thank you - don't apologize for intelligence.
In the words of our unnamed source: "That post could be also be interpeted as misogynist, 'fat ass' [& ]'kick her to the curb.' It's just fickin mean." It's also, however, just part and parcel of plain old every day racism and internet "hate speech." What makes it interesting is who these people are threatening Dana Loesch.
Our source informs us:
<blockquote>This guy Todd Levin is actually a <a href="http://www.artadvisors.org/levin/">huge player in the art world</a>, so is Jerry Saltz of course.. That guy commenting John Cheim, also has a <a href="http://www.cheimread.com/">multi million dollar Chelsea Gallery..</a> 1st. comment by Ray Smith who "want's to help" is also a very well known artist.</blockquote>
The bit about "f**k her over" and "kick her to the curb" seems like it could possibly be construed as a physical threat. Once again, this is part and parcel of thhe internet experience, threats of violence crop up in every social media network every day. What makes this situation so intriguing is how these art heavies are so comfortably insulated in their echo chambers that they feel they can say and do whatever they like in public forums like Facebook (or the Metropolitan Museum of Art for that matter).
It's also somewhat ironic that Levin feels Rick Sanchez was justified for being fired for implying that the heads of news and other media corporations were primarily Jewish when Levin seems to take a sort of especial glee in relating that it's true, "Jews control the media." He would just be echoing Joel Stein who went on a tear in LA Times explaining "Who runs Hollywood," but it seems touching on that subject is equivalent to using the "n" word without being of African ancestry.
<blockquote>They are really losing it.. frickin' sad. It's really incredible, really. Hey if you see something say something. Todd Levin seems hostile.</a>
Karen, first off, thanks for reading. I agree, in between "littering as art activism" and (far worse) misogynist rants that invoke the tired old "Jews run the media" trope that has cost many a gentile AND semite a living, there's plenty newsworthy in this story.
Please keep me updated if you get anything placed. I've already reached out to the parties involved for a comment for a follow-up piece I've planned myself and am also pitching the story to a handful of art outlets myself.
Keep me updated as far as further coverage goes, you can drop me a line at [email protected] and thanks again for reading.