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Despite the sheer volume of the events of September 11, 2011 masking the years near them, anyone interested in the arts who lived in New York City at the turn of the millennium – and particularly the borough of Brooklyn – will remember the arrival of the Sensation! touring exhibition of Young British Artists [YBAs] of the 1990’s  that opened on October 2nd of 1999.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani protested the exhibition and in specific a work by Nigerian-born, British National Chris Offili – an image of the Virgin Mary made of many materials from his homeland, but which contained elephant dung as a medium, a paint, a process natural to the production of image-based art throughout the tropics or near deserts.

Giuliani protested that it was offensive to Christianity and attempted to prevent the showing of the work. It’s this time I define the end of post-modernism, at the exact moment that Mayor Giuliani stated publicly to the press,

“here’s how I know if something is art … if I can do it, it’s not art.”

I wore this shirt, with a tie, no coat, slacks and dress shoes, to the opening.

mtk October 2, 1999

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