Thursday, September 03, 2009

Morbid Obama Syndrome & the World of Art

Commentary Magazine: "The Art of Obama Worship", by Michael J. Lewis

Of all the images hurled forth by the last presidential election, none will live longer than Shepard Fairey’s poster of a red, white, and blue Barack Obama, gazing significantly into the distance, resting atop the single word Hope. It had already been embossed into the national consciousness as the definitive image of Obama even before it was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery and appeared as the cover of Time’s “Person of the Year” issue. His poignant mien seemed to encapsulate all his personality and promise, an expression that was at once solemn, pensive, yearning, and ever so slightly sorrowful. With good reason the critic Peter Schjeldahl termed it “the most efficacious American political illustration since ‘Uncle Sam Wants You.’”

Campaign posters are discarded like yesterday’s newspaper the morning after an election, but not in the case of Obama. If anything, the demand for posters bearing his image has only grown. A recent New York Times front-page story highlighted the trend of amateur artists’ trying their hand at painting the new president. In one three-month period, 787 Obama paintings were auctioned on eBay, showing the new president in every possible pose, and a few impossible ones: standing commandingly before the White House, cradling a basketball and wearing a Washington Wizards uniform, gamely wrestling a bear on Wall Street, even flying naked on the back of a unicorn. (...) >>>

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