Serial Killer’s Paintings to Be Sold for Charity

Criminals who are waiting out their time on death row engage in a variety of activities to make the days pass.  Some read countless law books in hopes of finding a way to appeal their sentence.  Others take up writing or music in the limited ways that their circumstances will allow.  Serial killer John Wayne Gacy painted . . . a lot . . . during the sixteen years between his capture and his execution.  An art studio in Las Vegas is preparing to auction 74 of Gacy’s pieces for charity, and some people are not happy about it.

One of the charities that is supposed to receive some of the proceeds from the sale, the National Center for Victims of Crime, wants nothing to do with the auction and asked for a cease and desist order that will remove their organization from having an association with the event.    The coordinator of the show has countered that he is just trying to “help from something that was bad.”

Gacy is infamous for raping and murdering 33 boys and young men between 1972 and 1978.  One of the most disturbing details about this man is the fact that he dressed up as Pogo the Clown to entertain children at various events.  In fact, one of the most controversial pieces up for sale at the auction is a self-portrait that Gacy drew of himself as Pogo.

What do you think of this effort to sell a serial killer’s artwork as a way of raising money for charity?  Is this, as the proprietor of the gallery indicated, an attempt to make some good out of a bad situation?  Or, are we only offering more publicity to a man who committed heinous acts and who should be left dead and buried?


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Comment by Dana King on May 16, 2011 at 1:57am
The TV show JUSTIFIED handled this situation just right in Season One, using Hitler's paintings. I'll not spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but suffice to say the artist suffered  diminished exposure as a result.
Comment by J. F. Juzwik on May 15, 2011 at 10:50am
While part of me acknowledges that money is money, regardless of what brought it in, and a donation to charity will benefit those in need, a bigger part of me sees a situation like this as further keeping the name of the killer in the news.  Whether the killer is waiting on death row or has already been executed, selling their artwork and possessions and so on brings out not only their names, but articles will be written reminding of their crimes and in my opinion, bringing to the forefront all the pain to the victims' families.  I do feel that if at all possible, family members of those murdered should be consulted before doing something like this, and then their feelings respected.  I'm all for trying to have something good come from something bad, but not at the expense of the families who will forever have to deal with their loss.
Comment by Benjamin Sobieck on May 15, 2011 at 2:59am
If some good can come from these murders, I suppose that's the best thing that could happen.

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