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?