For his somewhat and views regarding Philippine History, I don’t have a liking for F. Sionil José even if he’s one of the late, great Nick Joaquín‘s dearest friends. I may have a preference for José’s prose. I bought his famous Rosales novels as well as his other books, and I think they’re OK. But like I always say to other like-minded people, he’d better stick to fiction where he’s good at. Just like Ms. Bárbara González should stick to writing about the comforts of life.
But another thing that Mr. José may be good at aside from moulding fictitious characters and circumstances from his mind is art criticism. And this is what he has to say to describe Mideo Cruz’s controversial works…
Sionil José calls Mideo Cruz immature, juvenile
By: Maila Ager
2:01 pm | Tuesday, August 16th, 2011
MANILA, Philippines—National Artist for Literature Francisco Sionil José lambasted on Tuesday the controversial artwork of Mideo Cruz, who put a wooden penis on the image of Jesus Christ, saying it was not an art but an illustration that the artist was “immature” and “juvenile”
“I saw the pictures, which too many people object and I said this is not art. These pictures illustrate that the artist is immature and juvenile in his attempt to express his views,” José said in mixed English and Tagalog when he faced the Senate investigation on the controversial artwork.
“This artist is not all that good because we do it when we were kids, where you put a mustache in people… anó ba yan,” he added.
But José defended art in general, saying there was nothing “obscene” in it compared to the obscenities of corrupt officials in government.
“The obscenities in this country are the powerful Filipinos who do not do their duties, the corrupt officials, who are not responsible. These are the obscenities in our nation. There are only bad artists and bad writers,” he said, which elicited cheers and applause from the people in the hearing room.
José then called on the Cultural Center of the Philippines to be more sensitive to the definition of the art itself.
Good point. For future exhibits, how should art be defined? What are the parameters and benchmarks? Who should criticize art? These and other related questions should be answered so that in the future no more garbage will infiltrate our Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Immature. Juvenile. Probably the best, the most precise choice of words —without resorting to insults— to describe Mideo Cruz’s Poleteísmo garbage.
For his age, Mr. José still has a good eye for aesthetics. So again: he’d better stick to fiction and the arts. So please, stay away from Philippine History. That would also be honoring a dearly departed friend in Nick.