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While traditionalists surely looked quizzically at the contemporary portraits that Barack and Michelle Obama commissioned for display in the National Portrait Gallery, one could count on The Washington Post and The New York Times to explain how wonderfully revolutionary the Obamas were to promote African-American painters to overturn the "bland propriety" of white traditions.
New York Times art critics Holland Cotter and Roberta Smith reacted with horror, and socialist tropes, to news that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan was making its “suggested fee” of $25 mandatory for non-New Yorkers: “The Museum Should Be Open to All.”
On September 29, New York Times art critic Holland Cotter championed an exhibit of “queer” and trans art under the headline “When It Comes to Gender, Let Confusion Reign." The exhibit at the New Museum in Manhattan is titled “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon.” Cotter cheered breaking down "the binary male-female face-off" and stretching "the perimeters of gender to the snapping point."
Left-wing bias; it’s not just for the news pages. The New York Times Weekend Arts roundup demonstrates how it saturates the paper, even -- perhaps especially -- in the paper’s Manhattan-centric cultural coverage, with rants about racist voter suppression in 2016 and how high-end art buyers "control the inequitable economy in America today."
New York Times art critic Holland Cotter’s year-i- review piece Sunday opened with an awkward metaphorical shout-out to the lefty park-squatters of Occupy Wall Street and an excoriation of the “noxious” 1 percent: “Complacency Butts Up Against Game Changers”: "...art-worldlings did at least adopt one thing from the Occupy Wall Street movement: a new identifying label for the source of particularly noxious vibes emanating from art fairs, V.I.P. galas and museum boardrooms: namely the 1 percent."
One can hardly imagine a newspaper running a headline that suggested a fascist society like Nazi Germany had its good points. Yet the New York Times has carved out a side industry in headlines that suggest a bright side to Communist tyranny in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
The latest came attached to art critic Holland Cotter’s 1,700-word review of “Ostalgia,” an exhibit of Soviet and post-Soviet art at the New Museum in Manhattan, splashed along the top fold of Friday’s Weekend Arts section: “When Repression Was a Muse.” “Ostalgia” is a coinage for the strange cultural nostalgia for Communism (i.e., inferior but somehow endearing cars like the East German Trabant) felt by some East Germans who found it hard to cope with the freedoms, opportunities, and responsibilities of a more capitalist society.
In August 2008 the Times ran this jaw-dropping headline over a book review: "East Germany Had Its Charms, Crushed by Capitalism."