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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Guantanamo Bay Has Little to Do With Art

June 23, 2005

Christopher Cole misses the mark in his article, "Religion and Art in the Toilet" (Opinion, June 19) by not discussing context and artistic intent in his attempt to expose left-wing hypocrisy toward art funding and military torture. I'm the performance artist whose piece, "Blessed Are All the Little Fishes," he cites as having "an 'altar' toilet with a picture of Jesus on its lid."

This is where Cole (and the pundits who denounced my work) took a moment out of context and twisted my "artistic intent," which was not to desecrate but to expand our views of how religion and personal experience coexist on a cultural and existential tangent. Whereas I doubt the U.S. soldiers allegedly splashing the Koran with urine at Guantanamo Bay did so with any artistic intent, and unlike a theater, the prisoners, forcibly and possibly illegally detained, had no choice in staying or leaving.

John Fleck

Los Angeles

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