The worst art critic in the world? Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is stupid. Ignorant. Ridiculous. I could go on, but I won’t.

Tyler Green, you ruined my evening. I read your tweet and of course had to go watch the video.

Beck’s arguments don’t even make sense! Is he saying Rockefeller was a communist in disguise? Which Rockefeller?  John T? Sr or Jr? Jr’s wife Abby?Their son Nelson? It was John T. Rockefeller Sr who founded Standard Oil. It was his son for whom Rockefeller Center was name. It was Nelson who built the historic art deco buildings between 1930-1939. Nelson then went on to serve as president of the Museum of Modern Art from 1939-1958. Is Beck suggesting that Nelson was deaf and blind to what the “socialist” artists were creating and putting in his building? Because that is not the case.

First of all, let’s define the term socialism. Socialism is an economic system in which things are held or used in common with an egalitarian method of compensation. Socialism is an economic system not a political system. There are many different political systems based on the economic system of socialism.

In 1834 Pierre Lerous called socialsim “the doctrine which would not give up any of the principles of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” of the French Revolution of 1789.

Guess what? The hammer and the sickle are symbols of the working class. Long before the industrial revolution we were an agrarian society. The working class were farmers, builders and laborers. It was this class of worker who revolted against the monarchy in France and Russia. Just as in America our ancestors revolted against the monarchy of England.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Socialism grew in popularity after the Russian Revolution and World War I. There were differing parties throughout Europe and attempts at revolution. After Lenin’s death Trotsky and Stalin differed on how to move forward. Trotsky was eventually exiled to Mexico and Stalin moved Russia into Communism. The Great Depression seemed to socialists and Communists everywhere to be the final proof of the bankruptcy, literally as well as politically, of capitalism. But socialists were unable to take advantage of the Depression to either win elections or stage revolutions.

This was the time frame under which Rockefeller Center was built. The ideas that influenced artists, writers, politicians and industrialists, business men, the media.

Didn’t Glenn Beck see the film Frida? Nelson Rockefeller wouldn’t allow Diego Rivera to finish the mural “Man at the Crossroads” and the mural was destroyed because he included an image of Lenin. Remember that Trotsky befriended Rivera and Frida Kahlo while in Mexico. Rivera offered to balance the mural by including an image of Lincoln, but Rockefeller said no. The fresco was destroyed. The mural in Mexico City is a second mural based upon the original. Click here for more information from wikipedia.

If you are interested in the truth and not Beck’s right-wing ignorant propaganda, check out these links:

Attilio Piccirilli is the artist who created the beautiful glass sculpture called “Youth Leading Industry,” which was installed in 1936. According to the book Art Walks in New York “the design shows a young male guiding a charioteer that symbolizes commerce and industry.”


There is another limestone relief above this glass sculpture. It is called “Commerce and Industry with Caduceus” also by Attilio Piccirilli. Here is what says about the artwork:

‘Commerce’ is the male figure whose hand touches a hammer. ‘Industry’ is the female figure whose hand touches a wheel. Between the two figures is a caduceus (winged staff) which is a symbol of the Roman gods’ messenger, Mercury. He was the patron of traders and roads.

Museumplanet also explains ‘Youth Leading Industry’:

A youth sprints ahead of two rearing horses that pull a chariot. The youth represents the then ‘New Spirit’ of Italy. The second figure, the charioteer, guides industry and commerce to the future. This panel was attacked as being Fascist. It was lucky to survive. The glass weighs nearly 3 tons and was made of 45 Pyrex castings by Corning Glass Works.

It was attacked as being Fascist and is being attacked by Glenn Beck. This sort of hateful and misleading art criticism can lead to violence and destruction.

The most telling and insightful comment that Beck makes is about his crew member who walked by the artwork everyday for 20+ years and never even noticed it. That is sad.  Someone can walk by a beautiful work of art every day and not even notice. Just like the video of the famous violinist playing in the subway where everyone just scoots on past him. We need to open our eyes and see what is around us, what is before us, what artwork exists. We need to open our ears and listen to the music created and played by artists everyday and we need to not listen to people like this because they are luddites.

There were over 100 works of art commissioned for Rockefeller Center. This was one of the last major building project in the United States to incorporate a voluntary program of integrated public art. Artists were commissioned to create work that was built into the structure. It was the vision of the owners to include art, to believe in art, to challenge us to stop and look and think and question.

Oh, and by the way. Beck doesn’t mention that News Corp and Fox News are housed in one of the four newer buildings that are part of the Rockefeller Center owned and managed by the Rockefeller Group. He also fails to mention that Rockefeller was a liberal Republican. Remember when those terms were used together and meant something.

Leave the art criticism to those who know what they are talking about Beck and stick with your hateful, spiteful, political commentary.


Here is the link to Tyler Green’s post on MAN

Jerry Saltz invites Beck to get in the ring here.

Christopher Knight on Beck in the LA Times here.

Politico credits art world pimp Tyler Green for slapping Beck here.

Olbermann on Beck, art and the location of Fox News Studios here.


3 responses to “The worst art critic in the world? Glenn Beck”

  1. lee Avatar

    Beck said his coworker walked by the Diego Rivera “Man at the Crossroads artwork every day while working at NBC. Wrong! It was never in the building. Rockefeller had it destroyed in the early 1930’s


  2. […] he expounded on the art at Rockefeller Center – can you spot Lenin and Marx?  (A bit more here.)   And, yes did you catch that — he admitted […]


  3. Beloved Spear Avatar

    You want irony? I gots you some irony! Glenn Beck is a major driving force behind today’s 9.12 Taxpayer March on Washington. The event logo? Stark, stylized red fists raised in unison in front of the nation’s capital. I think Kim Jong Il might be his art director…

    Check it out at!


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