Kathy Griffin’s sick Trump beheading “art” was a rousing success in that it managed to provoke near-universal condemnation, uniting many conservatives and liberals — including Keith Olbermann and Chelsea Clinton) — in disgust.

But Vox isn’t quite ready to denounce Griffin’s stunt just yet:

Oh.

Not clicking? Now that’s a shame. Because it means you’re missing out on another patented Vox Smart Take™. Griffin’s critics just don’t understand the context, you see:

The violent nature of the Griffin photo is also in keeping with its creator’s artistic tradition. [Tyler] Shields’s photographic art often flirts with violent themes, even when it’s not actively targeting political figures. For instance, in 2011 he collected blood from celebrities for use in his art, and later drenched his studio, Lindsay Lohan, and other performers in it.

While it’s arguable that none of these artistic statements were as shocking as the picture of Griffin holding Trump’s decapitated head drenched in fake blood, it’s also important to understand that Griffin and Shields’s photo recalls another artistic tradition: images of women beheading men.

Griffin is a successful celebrity in her own right, so it’s easy to read her Trump beheading as one celebrity taking aim at another in attention-courting fashion. But it’s also important to note that she and Shields are resisting a rapidly shifting world in which women are losing access to basic reproductive health care and arguably agency over their own bodies — often directly at the hands of Trump’s administration.

Oh. Well, in that case … no. Call it art all you like, Vox. That doesn’t make it any less shameful or despicable.

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