Oh Please, Not the Bacon!

Unsavory Look at Sue Coe’s Porkopolis and a MOMA Trustee

Sue Coe, Pig Improvement Company, 1989. Porkopolis
Sue Coe, Pig Improvement Company, 1989. Porkopolis

30 years ago I wrote my first art criticism, Sue Coe’s Porkopolis at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Southern California Herald. At the time the museum was in a Frank Gehry two-story building, commissioned for that purpose. I was painting full-time in an artist loft on Traction Ave between Downtown L.A. and East L.A. I was also teaching one day a week at one at the world’s great art colleges, Otis College of Art and Design. Their brilliant policy to contract professionally working artists on a part-time basis, so that the students were learning from the real deal. My motive for writing the article was to show what was going on in contemporary museums, as they are presumably showing the world what is the best in contemporary art.

Sue Coe, Genotek, 1990, Porkopolis
Sue Coe, Genotek, 1990, Porkopolis

The show was drawings, and prints about her perceptions her visiting slaughterhouses. The works should have conveyed a gruesome experience, but her skill was mediocre, she didn’t have the ability to instill any kind of emotion, so we were simply aware that she was anti-carnivore. It was like going to a romance movie that didn’t give us the feeling of love, or a horror moving that can’t scare you. The gist of my article was that she was primarily a cultural activist and a horrible artist. [I wrote the piece before I had a computer so I don’t have it in my files, and the Herald appears not to have an online archive.]

Coe has continued on exhibiting notably a solo show at MOMA PS1 (2018), and had several group shows: Perez Art Museum (2014), MOMA (2006) (2000), New Museum of Contemporary Art (2004), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1984), and George Pompidou, Paris (1978).

There is a disturbing pattern to contemporary art museums for over 50 years, they don’t show us the best artists, they show us mediocrities. (At the end of piece I will share links to some of those highlights.) The question is why? One reason can be envy driven, that when an institution elevates mediocrities the result deflates attention from great artists. Another can be low-self esteem, that the art exemplifies the administrators absence of self-worth. A third option can be that the museum has nefarious agendas, like money laundering, and that the art is beside the point. A fourth can be that contemporary art museums are tools for a massive PsyOp that disintegrates the mental, emotion, and sensory network of people, consequently rendering them vulnerable to manipulation. A fifth can be psychotic self-hatred, not content to off themselves they live for destroying human values.

A sixth option that the art world is just filled with stupid people, that might be 99% true, but oh, that one percent!

One person that might have some or all of the answers to why museums show disgusting works is Marlene Hess, a Trustee of The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. Her background deals with powerful financial international interests:

MARLENE HESS is the former Managing Director of Global Philanthropic Services at JP Morgan Private Bank. She advises clients from the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Asia, and designs philanthropic strategies to make their giving more effective. She has helped create innovative programs and non-profit organizations, and advise on their operations, governance and outreach. She also counsels donors on foundation succession and governance issues. Also formerly Director of Not-For-Profit Relations for Chase, she has enhanced the bank’s philanthropic activities and has formed extensive partnerships between the corporate and non-profit sectors to benefit the larger community. She has created a range of campaigns to raise public awareness about community issues, including the award-winning “Child Vaccination Program,” …


Hess is listed as giving election campaign contributions, here are a few of them: $250,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund (May 13, 2016 – August 16, 2016), and $179,200 to the Democratic National Committee (September 9, 2016).

It would also be fascinating to know what, if any, her CIA connections are. It is reasonable to assume that any major international player has come across them in some capacity.

No Bacon Meme, a popular online meme.
No Bacon Meme, a popular online meme.

A fun irony that while searching for “Sue Coe’s Porkopolis” one of the first listings is a site, porkopolis.org, they have a separate page for Sue Coe. The site also has a pig manifesto:

This is the manifesto of Porkopolis.org – a collection of arts, literature, philosophy and other varied considerations of the pig. In the irreducible complexity of what we call nature, pigs are one of the most iconic and paradoxical animals ever to have developed a relationship with man. Some form of pig has been visibly present in the vast majority of human societies. The pig is a grand character in much of human’s cultural history.

I know the journey through contemporary art world museums is repugnant, but in war it is best to know the enemy better than they know themselves. And I am extraordinarily confident that shining a light on them will clearly illustrate the depth of their anti-humanity. And when you combine that with the antidote of reason, passion, and flourishing figurative art, it is only a matter of time when the trash is cleared and we will get to celebrate great art in contemporary museums. Moral: where there is fire, add bacon and make it sizzle.

Michael, Idyllwild, June 6, 2022

Frame of References:

Coe, Sue. https://www.porkopolis.org/pig_artist/sue-coe/

Coe, Sue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_Coe

Coe, Sue. Catalog. https://yorkcollegeartgalleries.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/sue-coe-catalog.pdf

Hess, Marlene. https://littlesis.org/person/35989-Marlene_Hess

MOMA Trustees. https://www.moma.org/about/trustees

Termination of Mind, Body, and Spirit, TOMBS

TOMBS 2 — Harvard Visual Arts

TOMBS 3: Yale School of Art


TOMBS 5: A Pile of Crap at The Venice Biennale

One Reply to “Oh Please, Not the Bacon!”

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