Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Howard F Ahmanson: Mammon From Heaven

"What great success the British Museum has had with the exhibition Treasures of Heaven, a characteristically brilliant display of sacred masterpieces of medieval art. It's been such an illuminating experience that one has hardly to consider how it came about. A few people, on doing so, have had a shock. Peruse the list of sponsors and among them are Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, two of the stranger members of the US religious right. Ahmanson Ahmanson is the reclusive heir to a Californian real-estate fortune who has also been funding much of the anti-gay insurgency that has helped undermine Rowan Williams in the worldwide Anglican Church. They were once followers of the Christian Reconstructionist movement, which believes in the restoration of Old Testament punishments in public life – including stoning to death adulterers, gays and even recalcitrant children who fail to obey their parents. An interesting choice of sponsor, but then, times are hard, and we've all benefited. As colourful and interesting as the display's many exhibits."

Hugh Muir, Guardian Diary.

And wait til Mr Ahmanson finds out the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, is a son of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Update: "More on our new friend Howard F Ahmanson, the multimillionaire whose money and activism has fuelled anti-gay sentiment in the Anglican church. Yesterday we highlighted his sponsorship of the British Museum exhibition Treasures of Heaven. But this was to underestimate Howard's contribution to the artistic life of the nation. For six years ago the National Gallery's exhibition Caravaggio: the Final Years benefited from Howard's generosity. It didn't bother him that Caravaggio was alleged to have kept a boy lover. Howard sees the big picture, so to speak."
Guardian Diary.

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