Yesterday's terrorist attack in Paris on the editorial offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, has left a reported twelve people dead.
Among the deceased is the 80-year-old French-Jewish cartoonist Georges Wolinski. The well-known artist collaborated on a 2007 book with the French attorney Pierre-Philippe Barkats, called Thanks, Hanukkah Harry in which the hero fights the evils of climate change. I have a copy of this book in my home, purchased at a used book store here in New York. I do not speak French, but I had hoped that one day it would help me learn. Little did I know that Wolinski's voice and that of so many others would be silenced.
There is no question that some of the works of art published by Charlie Hebdo are challenging and may even be offensive to some people. Artists deal with the tough and provocative issues of our day, and many of the artists working for Charlie Hebdo are grappling with the same imagery and subject matter that confront all of us in our daily lives. Every art museum in this country is a center for the free exchange of ideas, opinions and perspectives that reflect the diversity of our global culture. Attempting to discourage this exchange through acts of violence undermines the principles of freedom of expression, plurality and tolerance. Today we mourn.
Executive Director, AAMD