While the debate about curbing government spending continues, allow me to propose a modest but important cut: the Library of Congress’s Employee Art show. Or can we at least cut out artwork that praises communist revolutionaries?
I was strolling through the halls of the Library’s Madison building—not the magnificent neoclassical Jefferson building across Independence Avenue but its drab, postmodern neighbor—when I came across the corridor containing the employees’ works of art. Most of the items were fairly decent photographs or watercolors, nice contributions to the collection. But in the middle of the hall, I came across this painting, featuring Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara:
And here is the title and artist, listed beneath it:
The verse from the title, Psalm 84:11, is printed in my Catholic Bible thusly: “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Perhaps the artist, Julio Z. Berrios, ought to have reconsidered an allusion of such biblical proportions. After all, Che was a “killing machine” who imprisoned and executed Christians, among others, in his role in Castro's revolution in Cuba. Sure, the artist could have meant for the title to be ironic, but given the popularity of Latin American communist chic, it’s not likely.