assisted art

It’s definitely low-brow. It does conjure up images of super-heroes. Not surprisingly, such controversial figures like “Dr. Death” tend to generate a fetish excitement. Jack Kevorkian’s defense that “acts by sheer common sense are not crimes,” posited a view of death totally at odds with most religious institutions regarding the interpretation of the sanctity of life; albeit support for civilian bombing, “collateral damage”, in Iraq and elsewhere seemed to elicit less response, though in a sense is also a form of “serial killing.” Obviously, there is no intrinsic value in suffering at the end of life, and in Kevorkian’s case the defense of sincerity and common sense weighed against a countervailing view of “it’s up to god to decide.” Interestingly, the art work connects the viewer with the fear of death, a Dante inferno and not say, the release of Arcadia….

There are elements of kitsch in his art; something of a hypnotic value that devaluates and degenerates any potential representations of love; which implies an open to a sense of sexuality, voyeurism, and a hint of perversity which leads down a slippery slope of denigrated human potentiality and hollow actuality of the object. So, we get some powerful emotions reduced to kitsch; content without emotional resonance.

Jack Kevorkian’s estate is going ahead with plans to auction 17 of his paintings, including one he did with a pint of his blood, even though a suburban Boston museum is refusing to give them up….

---Michael Betzold describes in his book Appointment with Doctor Death, 18 canvases that "are as bold and strident, as critical and unforgiving, as pointed and dramatic as Kevorkian's own fighting words. They are strikingly well-executed, stark and surreal --and frightening, demented and/or hilarious, depending on one's point of view."--- Read More: image:

…Estate attorney Mayer Morganroth said the dispute with the Armenian Library and Museum of America has only increased interest in the assisted-suicide advocate’s artwork. …Many of the paintings depict death or dying. One scheduled for auction is titled Genocide and features a bloody head being dangled by the hair and held by the hands of two soldiers, one wearing a German military uniform from the Second World War and the other wearing a Turkish uniform from the First World War. Dr. Kevorkian painted the head using his blood.

---Kevorkian shared this painting in 1997, which he said was a tribute to Armenian Jews who suffered genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and by the Germans in World War II. The red-tinted frame is stained with with Kevorkian's blood, which was meant to send a message of pain and suffering through his art, Streets said.---Read More:

Dr. Kevorkian, who sparked the national right-to-die debate with a homemade suicide machine that helped end the lives of dozens of ailing people, was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 for assisting in the 1998 death of a Michigan man with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was released from prison in 2007.

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Dr. Kevorkian lent the paintings and other personal effects to the museum in 1999 because he believed they would be protected while he served his prison term, Mr. Morganroth said. Some had been stolen in the past. …Read More:


Appraiser David Streets, who is coordinating the auction, told that at least 13 paintings would be up for grabs. “They are dark and beautiful, a cross between Edgar Allen Poe and Salvador Dali, and very reflective of Kevorkian’s life,” Streets said. The proceeds from the auction will go to Kevorkian’s sole heir — his

ce — and the charity Kicking Cancer for Kids.Read More:

---According to the owner of the gallery, Ann Kuffler, Kevorkian "has no further artistic aspirations and he believes it unlikely that he will paint again. He does not enjoy the process and does not consider himself an artist. In fact, he disclaims the paintings as art."---Read More: image:

…In the Netherlands, where PAS is legal, thousands of patients have been actively killed by their doctors–without giving prior permission and without a family or friend as proxy giving prior permission. The doctor makes a judgment about the patient’s quality of life–and if the patient’s quality of life does not measure up to the physician’s standards, the physician kills the patient. A recent attempt to formalize a quality of life standard, below which a physician could kill a patient, was defeated in the Netherlands. But with some physicians already crossing that barrier, it may be just a matter of time before the law reflects practice.

Doctors already have a great deal of power over the patient. The patient comes to the doctor for help, and the doctor has the knowledge and the power to diagnose and treat the patient. Given that amount of power, would someone really want to agree with Dr. Kevorkian to give the physician the authority to help a patient kill himself? Once power crosses one barrier, historically it has tended to cross others.

Dr. Kevorkian meant well. But history shows that some of the worst tyrants in history “meant well.” Pol Pot really believed that by killing the educated classes and moving the rest of the urbanized population of Cambodia he could create a classless society. Instead he murdered over a million people. Dr. Kevorkian only was involved in helping a few hundred people kill themselves. But multiply that by hundreds of other Dr. Kevorkian’s along with a racially individualistic society that affirms that a person “has the right to determine the time and manner of one’s death.” Such hubris feeds Dr. Kevorkians and feeds physician power over life and death–and this in turn feeds Death itself. God help us. Read More:
On November 24, CBS aired a tape of the Youk assisted suicide in the program “60 Minutes.” The show finished No. 3 in the weekly Nielsen ratings. Prosecutor David Gorcyca filed charges after receiving an unedited tape from CBS. Following the televised suicide, Dr. Death arrived smiling at the police station after being charged with first-degree murder. Kevorkian was released on $750,000 personal bond following his arraignment. “A review of the tapes involving Mr. Youk and Kevorkian present sufficient facts and probable cause to support charges of assisted suicide,” Gorcyca said. “Not withstanding Mr. Youk’s consent, consent is not a viable defense in taking the life of another, even under the most controlled environment.”

Kevorkian, 70, has acknowledged a role in some 130 assisted suicides since 1990, making him the most active known serial killers in the nation. Hisis previous trials, all on assisted suicide charges, resulted in three acquittals and one mistrial. This was the first time he stood trial for murder. In past cases, Kevorkian has said his clients used his homemade devices to start the flow of carbon monoxide or intravenous chemicals that caused their death. In Youk’s case, however, Kevorkian administered the injection.

In closing arguments, prosecutor John Skrzynski likened Kevorkian to “a medical hitman in the night” and asked jurors not to let him make a political statement with Youk’s death. Kevorkian said he was no more culpable than an executioner because he was merely doing his duty as a physician to relieve Youk’s suffering. He compared himself to civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. and invited the jury to disregard the law. “Words on paper do not necessarily create crimes,” he said. “There are certain acts that by sheer common sense are not crimes. This may be one of them. That’s for you to decide.”

Attorney David Gorosh, who had been serving as Kevorkian’s legal adviser, said he will appeal. He also said he will ask the judge to use her discretion at sentencing and give Kevorkian no jail time. “Dr. Kevorkian is certainly no murderer,” Gorosh said. “We believe it’s certainly unjust to equate an act of compassion to an act of murder.” Kevorkian won the right to represent himself during the trial despite the misgivings of the judge, who asked him: “Do you understand you could spend the rest of your life in prison?” He responded: “There’s not much of it left.”

On April 13 Judge Jessica Cooper sentenced Dr. Death to 10 to 25 years in prison for the videotaped death of a Lou Gehrig’s disease patient. He also was sentenced to three to seven years for delivery of a controlled substance. The fiesty judge lectured the 70-year-old doctor: “This trial was not about the political or moral correctness of euthanasia. It was about lawlessness. It was about disrespect for a society that exists because of the strength of the legal system. No one, sir, is above the law. No one. You had the audacity to go on national television, show the world what you did and dare the legal system to stop you. Well, sir, consider yourself stopped.” Read More:

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I consider suicide a human right as basic as the right of adults, if they so desire, to go on living as long as nature and medicine can sustain them. It is a tragedy when people kill themselves, at any age, as a result of depression and despair over a condition that, with proper pyschological, medical and financial assistance, is remediable. It is not a tragedy when people kill themselves because they do not wish to live with a condition that cannot be changed. Some of Kevorkian’s fiercest critics were disability rights advocates. Diane Coleman, the founder of Not Dead Yet—an advocacy group for the disabled–describes Kevorkian’s action as “the ultimate form of discrimination,” in that it offers the disabled “help to die without having offered real options to live.”

With all due respect, it is not up to disability rights advocates, any more than it is up to doctors, to decide whether any individual should or should not want to go on living….Read More:

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