- By Mark Franko
The Offending Classic
Photo: Nikolai Aistov as the Rajah, Julia Sedova as Gamzatti and Pavel Gerdt as Solor (ca. 1902). Courtesy of the Marius Petipa Society.
We have recently seen a conflict over a Depression-era mural on the wall of a public school in San Francisco. It came under attack by the student body for its offensive content to minorities, even though the 1930s mural in question was by Russian leftist émigré artist Victor Arnautoff (hardly a household name) and was created as a protest against the injustice propagated by the United States of America against minorities. A dead Native American at the feet of the first President of the United States is the offending element within this image. The irony in this image, which contests...