Art

More Pictures of "Change"

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Back in September, Michael C. Moynihan asked, "What happens to political art if Obama wins?", and worried—after a taste of what Obama supporters were producing months prior to the election—"that the dull and sophomoric political art of the Bush years will be replaced by the dull and hagiographic work of the Obama years." In light of an email I received today from Matthew Cook, the publicist at Say It & See It Productions, LLC, I would argue that we won't see much of a break between pre-election and post-election "political art":

From the press release:

Christopher Shannon Art today announced the release of the limited edition of his latest work "Change in America". This limited edition drawing takes the theme and slogan of the most significant event in American political history and presents it in a most literal sense.

 Change in America is a striking and realistic portrait of President-Elect Barack Obama delivering one of his most moving and impactful speeches. President Elect Obama is centered in the middle of The United States of America that unanimously elected him as their 44th President. Displayed throughout the drawing are American currency in the form of coins or change that amplify the overall message that led record numbers of American voters to the polls and united American people of every race, religion and political affiliation. This limited edition portrait is extremely realistic and simply breathe taking.

"Obama's eyes literally look as if they will blink at you at any moment," says Jason Scott, DC area resident and private art collector. This particular work being introduced here has been in secret development for a long time and is the first in a series of portraits dedicated to the historical presidency of Barack Obama. "He may not be the best in the World, but he is the best I've every [sic] seen…" says R&B singing artist, celebrity and art collector Ginuwine.

Christopher Shannon captures not only the spirit of this historic event but also the literal meaning of change. "I just want people to feel the emotional significance of this event…" says Christopher Shannon. "There are lots of depictions of Obama out there; my goal is to not just present the man; but the message in a way that provokes thought and reflection on what this really means."

This email came after a different publicist offered me an "early shot" at a gallery opening with new stuff by "Shep Fairy" [sic], the street artist who turned Obama's headshot into a paint-by-numbers poster, inspired countless Tall tees themes, and did underdressed former-anarchists proud by making GQ's "Men of the Year" list.

I wonder if a disappointing First 100 Days will be enough to crust the brushes of Obama artists? After all, it's one thing to paint torture and war, and quite another to paint someone not doing everything he promised. And if the schmaltzy Obama art keeps up, will the rest of us find ourselves eventually pining for a return of  those smug yet subtle "W" stickers?

NEXT: No, Not Ray Carney...

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  1. President Elect Obama is centered in the middle of The United States of America that unanimously elected him as their 44th President.

    I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.

  2. Would you buy that for a quarter?

  3. I have faith in the market. I’m not bothered by people making stuff that other people want to buy…and in this case, there’s a market for Obama kitsch.

  4. Jefferson Davis Is My President

  5. More of this, please. The more Obama kitcsh there is, the easier it’ll be to torment his fans when the inevitable disillusionment comes.

  6. @cunnivore: How can you claim to be impervious to other peoples’ bad taste when you have no choice but to share in their consumption? Would you refrain from objecting if someone wearing dogshit-scented perfume stood next to you while you ate?

  7. The most important political event of the United States’ History?

    God, I hope not.

    How many died in the War Between the States and WWII? How many people suffered through the New Deal?

    Kolohe,

    Apparently when you go to the polls to vote against a candidate, you actually are supporting whoever wins the election. People who voted for McCain, by the act of voting were electing Obama. That’s according to Neu Mejican anyway.

    Additionally, Those of us who didn’t vote were also supporting whomever should win the election.

    Thus, everyone, whether they voted or not, elected Obama. That’s the argument of some non-anarchists anyway: anything to maintain the fiction that the government has the consent of the governed.

  8. Is it me, or is that Obama on the penny?

    That’s deep, man.

    Also, I love that it’s supposed to be “breathe taking.”

  9. I thought it was satirical. Because that would be some subtle, smart satire, but it turns out it’s an imperceptive paean to a politician.

  10. tarran-
    I love pedantry as much as anyone, but the thread to which you linked seems like that Hayakawa cow I encountered in AP english, which not only convinced me to study engineering in college, but also to this day still makes my head hurt. So thanks, I’ll pass.

  11. If I could get people to buy it, I’d make William Henry Harrison art…

  12. Shepard Fairey is not a street artist, he is a ripoff artist.

  13. I’d make William Henry Harrison art…

    I thought of that, but assasination is much cooler than pneumonia.

  14. the most significant event in American political history

    This sounds like a very badly educated high school student.

    Ai yi yi yi yi.

  15. Something I’ll be able to purchase at Goodwill or a garge sale for $0.50 in five years.

    IOW, kitsch.

  16. From the “artist’s” web site:

    “Did You Know
    In this trend driven world of artistry it is imperative that the artist stay current with tools and products of the craft without sacrificing skill for flash. Christopher Shannon is ready to release his highly awaited peace to date. Change in America”

    martyred_cars:
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Not only does the “artist” not sacrifice skill for flash, he is badly educamated….

    But he is available for commissions nationally.

    What does is say about American’s boorishness and lack of appreciation for fine “art” when an “artist” who has both skill and flash is not all booked up. The USA is just so lowbrow. I think I’ll move to Canada.

  17. Obama’s eyes literally look as if they will blink at you at any moment

    Yes, I can see the mind-bending significance of a picture of someone not currently blinking implying that, at some future moment, a blink will occur.

    Unlike the rest of us mortals, whose eyes get drier and drier …

  18. Back away slowly. Don’t make any sudden moves. Just smile at the artist until you’re back far enough to make a clean get away.

  19. The more I look at the picture, the worse it gets. There are Great Lakes cutting into his forehead (if it’s supposed to be symbolic sweat, that’s really dumb) and a big chunk of the northeast is just blank. And also his collar disappears into the flag, I think, for no reason.

    Totally lame, no matter what the message. It looks largely traced, and not just the USA outline.

  20. Every creepy velvet Obama is a half-sublimated assassination fantasy. Lake Michigan part of this one’s.

    I’m surprised you missed it, martyred_cars.

  21. Hmmm.

  22. Apparently, the highest art form now is the collector’s plate.

  23. franklin mint?

    i wonder if the kitsch that will sell at garage sales for 50 cents in ten years will be worth a pile-and-a-half in 50 years?

  24. And he’s got that “Clintonian Thumb” going on in the painting…

    although, that drawing might look good on the roof of a mini or the hood of a Trabi…

  25. Apparently when you go to the polls to vote against a candidate, you actually are supporting whoever wins the election. People who voted for McCain, by the act of voting were electing Obama. That’s according to Neu Mejican anyway.

    Additionally, Those of us who didn’t vote were also supporting whomever should win the election.

    Tarran,
    In addition to being the most depressing thing that’s happened to me today (Granted I just woke up) your post astonished me with your ability to find a single post from 20-odd months ago.

    I must know. How did you do that?

  26. I’m torn between the crappy collectible plate and the colorized quarters. It’s a difficult decision, as both come with Certificates of Authenticity.

  27. I wonder if a disappointing First 100 Days will be enough to crust the brushes of Obama artists?

    Thanks. After rereading Balko’s post yesterday, I needed a good laugh this morning.

  28. The “collectible” plate TV ad is very entertaining. It shows both black and white families basking in Obama’s radiance. He truly is a uniter. Pass the corn.

  29. I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.

    Yes, Kolohe, that guy’s use of language is breathe taking.

  30. Hazel Meade | December 16, 2008, 9:35pm | #

    More of this, please. The more Obama kitcsh there is, the easier it’ll be to torment his fans when the inevitable disillusionment comes.

    Oh, but Hazel, I though Progressives Were Very Disappointed already.

  31. Next up, plastic Obama on the dashboard of your car! He lights up, too!

  32. Can’t help but notice that there is no reference to a specific “moving or impactful” speech. No-Brow art is so much better when it has an outlaw ethic. Marcel Dzama and Robert Crumb this guy ain’t.

  33. Have you seen the ads for Obama commemorative plates? My wife asked if I wanted a presidential commemorative plate, and I said only if Reagan was on it.

  34. Man…I was beginning to think all comment threads resembled either the Daily Kos or Lucianne. What a pleasant relief.

    The piece of tripe so maleducatedly (if that’s a word) praised up top reminds me a bit of the public murals you can still see around eastern Berlin and in Potsdam, celebrating Erich Honecker and the ‘free peoples’ of the DDR and the USSR, marching into a glorious new age.

    blech.

    The Thomas Kinkade of the left…without the technique.

  35. “Oh, but Hazel, I though Progressives Were Very Disappointed already.”

    They are. But progressive is not necessarily synonymous with the cult. Lots of Progressives were never in the cult and lots of cult members were never Progressives. As the Obama bloom fades, finding someone who will admit to being a member of the Obama cult will get harder and harder. People who today and earlier this year were buying this kind of stuff will hide it in their closets and say “I never bought into him being anything more than just an ordinary politician. It was everyone else who did all the creepy stuff”. It will start this spring and summer with a batch of MSM thumb sucking pieces saying how no one ever said that there was anything transcendent about Obama and anyone who says otherwise is just repeating a paranoid conservative myth.

  36. Frankly, the technique just ain’t that good. I’ve seen better work than this at any number of high school and junior college art shows.

    creech:

    Well, I don’t care come rain or thunda,
    Long as I have my plastic Obama
    Riding on the dashboard of my car
    Through all trials and tribulations,
    We will travel every nation,
    With my plastic Obama I’ll go far.

    Plastic Obama, plastic Obama
    Riding on the dashboard of my car
    Through all trials and tribulations,
    We will travel every nation,
    With my plastic Obama I’ll go far.

    I don’t worry ’bout rain or thunda
    As long as I’ve got my Plastic Obama
    Glued to the dashboard of my car,
    You can buy Him phosphorescent
    Glows in the dark, He’s Pink and Pleasant,
    Take Him with you when you’re travelling far

    I ain’t scared of fire or Hell
    Long as I have magnetic Michelle
    Ridin’ on the dashboard of my car
    I feel I’m protected amply
    I’ve got the whole damn Holy Family
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

    You can buy a fake Michelle
    Dressed in rhinestones sitting on a
    Pedestal of abalone shell
    Goin’ ninety, I’m not wary
    ‘Cause I’ve got my sweet Michelle
    Guaranteeing I won’t go to Hell

    I don’t fear the bumps when ridin’
    Long as I got old Joseph Biden
    Bolted to the dashboard of my car
    Don’t I have a pious mess
    Such a crowd of holiness
    Strung across the dashboard of my car

  37. So, how soon can we expect black velvet paintings of The One to become available?

    God this is going to be so funny when this lightweight implodes and His Disciples are left wondering what happened to their Messiah…..

  38. Sure they are, John. Only 94% of Democrats approve of the job Barack Obama is doing during his transition.

    So very, very disappointed, those progressives must be.

    As the Obama bloom fades… Wait a minute, I thought Progressives Are Very Disappointed? You just told me they were, yet now you’re lapsing into the future tense.

    You want to know what a conservative myth is? “Progressives Are Very Disappointed.” Myth.

    Barack Obama has the highest approval rating, and the highest approval rating within his party, of any President-Elect since they began polling in the 50s. You’re just repeating what conservatives have told you progressives think.

  39. Oh Oh OH!!!! I forgot to ask – can anyone tell me where I can get a bobble head Obama????

    (at least then I’ll have something to slap the crap out of for the next 4 years everytime he generates an obamination…)

  40. Hey–print that up on a roll of toilet paper and I’ll buy some!

    chicopanther

  41. Well Joe, maybe Progressives love the idea of Hillary Clinton as Sec State, four more years in Iraq and no commitment to end coercive interrogation techniques or warrantless NSA wiretapping. I always thought that maybe they would object to those things.

    But, I tend to give Progressive more credit than that. I always assume they actually believe what they say. But maybe they don’t. Maybe they are members of the cult and will support Obama no matter how he sells them out. Basically, I never thought you spoke for Progressives. But maybe you do. Maybe they really are like you and are incapable of criticizing Obama for any reason. I stand corrected Joe. Apparently, Progressives are just as stupid, fanatical and narrow-minded as you are.

  42. The funniest part of the press release is the claim that the work captures “the literal meaning of change”. Apparently that is why the artist added a collection of coins in the background.

  43. This’ll look great next to a kid with oversized eyes and poker playing dogs. K-Mart? Blue Light Special? “art”, this is…

  44. I want to know when the Obobbleheads are going to come out? I want a matched set of The Obamessiah and Mother Michelle for my car. Indeed, they need to come out with a set that has all of His major cabinet picks.

  45. Is it just me, or is Obama wearing lipstick in that picture?

  46. Companeros! I chastise you for calling our comrade-hero artistians counter-revolutionary! Do you not see that they have rejected the false consciousness of anti-state posturing?! Oh, truely, they have see the light of the true ONE.

    Here is an example of how formerly cynical so-called “avante-garde” artistes’ can embrace TRUTH – once properly invited. Sure, they’ll lose some snooze time painting that dreck for Obama, but they can catch up on sleep when the PEOPLE have triumphed!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qLzQ4uOvio

  47. I thought this dude was….like…..president of the whole world or something. Where’s the rest of the world? We can’t even get the O’s hair in to Canada? Or his torso into Mexico? How the hell is he gonna be president of the world?

  48. By using “the literal meaning of change” does the artist mean to say that Obama bought the election?? Say it isn’t so!

  49. Is it just me, or is Obama wearing lipstick in that picture?

    Maybe he just kissed a pig.

  50. I’ve got this crazy idea for you, John.

    On the “what do progressives think” front, how about instead of consulting your unerring gut, and reading what people who don’t like or understand progressives tell you they think, you actually try to familiarize yourself with the objective reality that exists outside your head?

    There is data out there. Polling data. Stories. Go find some.

    Well Joe, maybe Progressives love the idea of Hillary Clinton as Sec State, four more years in Iraq and no commitment to end coercive interrogation techniques or warrantless NSA wiretapping. See, here’s an example: only one those things is likely to actually happen under Obama. The other three, he has explicitly ruled out. Why don’t you try this amazing new technique I described, and see if you can find out which three?

  51. Watch it, Ed. You can’t talk about Michelle that way. Obama’s Brownshirts will be coming to take you to the re-education camp.

  52. Obobbleheads. Good one Clyde!

    Inquiring minds want to know where to find them and how much they cost – it’s almost Xmas after all!

    Geez, where’s an entrepreneur when you need one!?!?

    This is AmerKKKa people – someone needs to step up and fulfill this urgent capitalist need.

  53. This is AmerKKKa people – someone needs to step up and fulfill this urgent capitalist need.

    Clearly an example of “market failure”. People are just too irrational to want enough Obobbleheads for the market to respond. We’ll have to create a Department of Popular Culture to issue them.
    An Obobblehead on every mantlepiece!

  54. Hazel Meade,

    You…you….HERETIC!!!!

    Didn’t you dutifully read your Disciple’s Memo of the Day explaining that it’s currently to be described as the “Department of Popular Culture of the President-Elect” that will handle this matter exclusively!

    The purchase of icons of The One will be subsidized by the TARP bailout money, of course, and distributed to the faithful by ACORN.

    You should pray for forgiveness from The One posthaste for your sacriledge!

  55. Here’s your doll. Act quickly before they’re all gone.

    http://www.westwing.com/cobaobbo.html

  56. I looked through the rest of the artist’s online portfolio to see what else he was saying. The only work that appears in any way political is a watercolor of a Black man in a prison cell, looking despondent. The rest of the work is craft-fair style portraiture. He’s not a serious artist, so the amateurishness in the Obama picture doesn’t really tell me anything.

    I’d be very interested to see political art by more notable artists who have reputations in academia and among the gallery types; particularly, I’d like to contrast the new work of hopenchange versus the black pit of Bushian despair.

  57. “Jefferson Davis Is My President”

    Huh?

    Which one, the communist who got tossed in the can under the Smith Act or the President of the Confederacy?

    Never mind, in January your president will be a commie anyway. A typical looting, corrupt ans shameless “for the people” communist., a.k.a. progressive.

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