I have a feeling I'm not going to be the only one to respond to Angelo Nanfro's reference to the destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building as an act of extremism taken "artistically" in the May 27 edition. But being that I graduated from art school myself and encountered debates on the definition of "art," I thought I'd post my thoughts on the matter.
First, yes, I know Angelo, you yourself are not advocating or defending Timothy McVeigh's actions yourself, as no doubt many people will denote with much overreaction. But I do have to wonder why you chose this particular metaphor for the act. While the definition of "art" is constantly evolving and expanding, I can think of two basic definitions for this argument. One is simply "the act of creating beautiful things," or "the things created by such an act." Who exactly would refer to the bombing as "beautiful?" Yes, you could say this was an expression of McVeigh's anger, but beautiful? Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but usually the beholder isn't a psychotic anti-government murderer. Another definition is that art is whatever a given creator says is art. Again, I don't recall McVeigh himself ever referring to this act as "art" or "beautiful."
Designating this atrocity as "art" or "beautiful" seems arbitrary and questionable. In my four years at New York's School of Visual Arts, I don't ever recall taking "Domestic Terrorism 101" or "How to Murder 168 People for Beginners."
I understand your point was to advocate life imprisonment, as opposed to the death penalty, but there are less dubious, pretentious and certainly less convoluted ways to express that opinion than you did in your letter.
And by the way, Michelangelo's last name was Buonarotti. His full name wasn't Michael Angelo.