Outrage Du Jour: The Truth; Update: Artist can’t handle The Truth?

posted at 3:25 pm on April 27, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Based on the e-mail I’ve been getting today, Michael D’Antuono will not be compared favorably to Michaelangelo any time soon.  Kevin McCullough and the Anchoress have taken note of D’Antuono’s latest painting, as has WorldNet Daily, for obvious reasons:

Artist Michael D’Antuono’s painting “The Truth” – featuring Obama with his arms outstretched and wearing a crown of thorns upon his head – will be unveiled on April 29 at the Square’s South Plaza.

According to a statement released about the portrait, “The 30″ x 54″ acrylic painting on canvas depicts President Obama appearing much like Jesus Christ on the Cross: atop his head, a crown of thorns; behind him, the dark veil being lifted (or lowered) on the Presidential Seal. But is he revealing or concealing, and is he being crucified or glorified?” …

“More than a presidential portrait,” writes D’Antuono on a website touting the painting, “‘The Truth’ is a politically, religiously and socially-charged statement on our nation’s current political climate and deep partisan divide that is sure to create a dialogue.”

Color me unmoved.  Unless Obama himself commissioned this portrait, or the National Endowment for the Arts subsidized it, there’s nothing much outrageous about artists with no sense of taste or perspective.  It’s not even very well painted; the body is out of proportion to the head and the arms (it looks like an Obama version of South Park’s Mr. Mackey), and the face is not a terribly convincing portrayal of Obama.  I’d note that D’Antuono managed to position Obama so that he would not have to paint the more intricate parts of the Presidential Seal, either.

Is it tasteless?  Yes.  Sacreligious?  Definitely.  But on a scale of 1-100, with 100 being “Piss Christ” and 75 being the Madonna made out of elephant dung and the pictures of genitalia, I’d have to rate this pretty low on the Outrage-O-Meter.  It says so much more about D’Antuono than Obama or the public at large, and I suspect that’s exactly what this artist intended all along.

Update: D’Antuono won’t display this after all, saying that the anger over the religious elements of the painting surprised him:

The idea of the piece, or the reaction that I’d hoped for, was to highlight our nation’s deep partisan divide and how our interpretation of the truth is really prejudiced by our political perspective and I think that to a large degree we are being manipulated by the media. I miss the old day when we just have the facts. Now we have pundits and spin and strategists.

I just thought that through that painting people would see different things. The right and the left would have different interpretations of it based on their political lens. But I have to admit I was very surprised that instead of that I got thousands of email complaining on the religious front. And that was not my intent at all. I wanted to create a dialog politically but not religiously. I didn’t mean to make fun of anybody’s religion; maybe I did so naively but I didn’t mean it that way. In the bible Jesus is The Truth and comparing Obama that way isn’t something I meant to do at all.

Apparently, I’ve upset a lot of people. And I’ve decided that’s not what I wanted to do and I’m not going to display it in the park on Wednesday … art is meant to be somewhat provocative but the religious element went way farther than I had anticipated.

Mark Hemingway takes him at his word, but I’m a little skeptical.  After all, D’Antuono titled his piece “The Truth” and put a thorn of crowns on Obama while holding a crucifix pose.  Either D’Antuono was monumentally naive or he’s trying to deflect criticism after the fact.  Either is possible; I’ll give him credit for at least acknowledging that he offended people.  Some good art can offend people, but not all art that offends is good, something artists these days seem to forget.


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Don’t flatter yourself baldi. I simply find you to be a phony.
dakine on April 28, 2009 at 12:46 AM

Well why don’t you leave me alone then? I didn’t initiate this exchange. Vaya con Dios.

baldilocks on April 28, 2009 at 12:51 AM

Doesn’t work that way. You’re a high profile poster here. You engage in demagoguery, I’m gonna call you out on your phoniness.

dakine on April 28, 2009 at 12:58 AM

dakine on April 28, 2009 at 12:58 AM

You’re saying you can’t quite me? Whatever.

Okay. I consider myself called out. Happy now?

baldilocks on April 28, 2009 at 1:00 AM

I’m ecstatic baldi. Glad we cleared that up…till next time.

dakine on April 28, 2009 at 1:02 AM

Hahahahaha!

Later.

baldilocks on April 28, 2009 at 1:03 AM

Baxter Greene on April 28, 2009 at 12:15 AM

Sorry about the double post.

Baxter Greene on April 28, 2009 at 1:50 AM

I have to say I don’t know quite what to make of “The Truth.” Is Obama pulling the curtains back or closing them? What does it all mean?

The crown of thorns and Christ like pose were sure to offend many. However, I am rather surprised to hear the artist changed his mind suddenly. Maybe Christians are finally starting to speak out like other groups now.

sarahpalinfan99 on April 28, 2009 at 1:56 AM

Doesn’t work that way. You’re a high profile poster here. You engage in demagoguery, I’m gonna call you out on your phoniness.

dakine on April 28, 2009 at 12:58 AM

ok, dakine, you’re a ‘high’ profile jerk here. You engage in trollish behaviour. I’m gonna call you out on your obtuseness.

arsewipe.

oh, btw, baldilocks is not quite as phony as some of the personalities discussed on this thread. . . well, she didn’t seem phony when I met her, at any rate.

You, you’re not much more than an annoying random pattern of pixel illuminations.

Wind Rider on April 28, 2009 at 8:56 AM

a thorn of crowns

Excuse me?

Akzed on April 28, 2009 at 9:03 AM

But this has already been done and you know a lot slicker…do we want the President of the U.S. to look like a poser? LOL Like shooting ducks in a barrel.

Dr Evil on April 28, 2009 at 9:07 AM

“‘The Truth’ is a politically, religiously and socially-charged statement on our nation’s current political climate and deep partisan divide that is sure to create a dialogue.”

Ah. The mantra of every crappy artists.

Ampersand on April 28, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Pure schlock art, nothing more.

First off the guy’s really an illustrator, not a painter, the reason the piece is being debuted in Union Square and not by Mary Boone or in another prestigious gallery in Chelsea or uptown.

Opening a piece in Union Square?

Ridiculous by New York City artist standards.

AprilOrit on April 28, 2009 at 9:56 AM

Thou shalt not have false gods before me

Bevan on April 28, 2009 at 10:10 AM

Ed,

“The Truth” and put a thorn of crowns

Thorn of Crowns?

loudmouth883 on April 28, 2009 at 10:14 AM

I wanted to create a dialog politically but not religiously. I didn’t mean to make fun of anybody’s religion; maybe I did so naively but I didn’t mean it that way.

That comment ranks high on the Liberal Clueless Meter. It ranks so high that it could win an award. It is another perfect example of how liberals do things they don’t think about, and the idea that he could portray B.O. as The Messiah yet keep the painting non-religious is as stupid as stupid gets.

This deserves to be featured in its own Comment Of The Day topic.

DannoJyd on April 28, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Looks like the anti-Christ, mocking Jesus and America.

purgatory on April 27, 2009 at 3:35 PM

MEGADITTOS!!!!!

Things about the painting I find interesting:

1-The inside of the blue jacket is RED.
2-O is not bleeding *that would have been the straw the broke the camel’s back*
3-If I would have painted that, I would have used HIS campaign seal instead of the official one. Brings the sarcasm more.
4-No TOTUS.
5-On the face, to me it is hard because of the stupid left and right head turns when he reads his speeches.
6-Like the curtain idea…I see it this way:

LET THE SHOW BEGIN! OH AM I HAVING SUCH A HARD TIME, AND IT’S NOT GONNA BE EASY BECAUSE OF W! (AFTER I SAID ON MY CAMPAIGN THAT I WAS GONNA BRING ALL THIS HOPE AND CHANGE)…BECAUSE OF THIS, MY LOAD IS SO HEAVY…Get it?

7-He has the halo, ok…we have seen dozens of photoshopped Obamas online.

8-The crown of thorns is what I am still figuring out. I have to say worse things have been said about us conservatives, about regular folks just like you and me, presidential and VICE-PRESIDENTIAL candidates (wink, wink) and the filth that has come out ever since the twat has been elected.

Whenever I see a crown of thorns at the Catholic store, I tear up, my body shivers of sadness and suffering. Meaning just the crown, not the crucifix because I am used to it. I have to say it does not offend me because my sense of humor trumps the Catholic in me. I am tired also of people being so PC. And I totally understand the artist’s perspective on this.

Like Miss CA said: “Sorry if I offended anyone, but…” where I come from, these would be printed in postcard size and given at rallies, or dropped by helicopter on a rally.

I will keep reading…this is sure an interesting and insightful thread.

ProudPalinFan on April 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM

Another boxed set of DVD’s?

Loxodonta on April 27, 2009 at 3:43 PM
Not this time.

Reid, D-Nev., writes: “‘That speech was phenomenal, Barack,’ I told him. And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: ‘I have a gift, Harry.’”
He has the ‘gift’ of humility. [COUGHBULLCHITCOUGH]

capitalist piglet on April 27, 2009 at 3:46 PM

EExxxcuusee mee?? Humility?

OK, gimme a mop and a bucket…I will SHOW him HU-MI-LI-TEE by cleaning mah crib-OK? Ok!

ProudPalinFan on April 28, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Since this is being shown at Union Square is this being funded with taxpayer money?

Can you imagine the outcry if President Bush had had a painting done like this?

coyoterex on April 27, 2009 at 3:59 PM

No, I got one better…Replica on LASER SHOW this 4th of July!!!

ProudPalinFan on April 28, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Obamessiah blesses the “unclean”.

Almighty Obama bless you and keep you.
Almighty Obama make His face shine upon you and be redistributive to you.
Almighty Obama lift up His Hopium upon you and bring you Change.
Teh Word of Obama

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on April 27, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Worth putting a joke on my DH as a computer background screen!

ProudPalinFan on April 28, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Obligatory. Oldie, but a goodie.

Barack Obama: The Child – The Messiah – The Obamessiah

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on April 27, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Funniest.Thing.EVAH! Damn how did I miss that?

ProudPalinFan on April 28, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Looks like the anti-Christ, mocking Jesus and America.

purgatory on April 27, 2009 at 3:35 PM
As I have said for well over a year, if BO isn’t the AC he is making one heck of an impression of one.
If he were just the inept politician we know he is then we could weather him but he is far more then that and his despicable cult will insure that he will never leave office. BO may not be the AC but he is the end of the USA in our lifetimes.

jmarcure on April 27, 2009 at 4:15 PM

This has been brought up ad nauseaum in the Nostradamus prophecies.

ProudPalinFan on April 28, 2009 at 10:58 AM

Sounds like the artist got a little more dialogue than he bargained for.

Before:

“‘The Truth’ is a politically, religiously and socially-charged statement on our nation’s current political climate and deep partisan divide that is sure to create a dialogue.”

After:

I wanted to create a dialog politically but not religiously. I didn’t mean to make fun of anybody’s religion; maybe I did so naively but I didn’t mean it that way. In the bible Jesus is The Truth and comparing Obama that way isn’t something I meant to do at all.

If you’re trying to be deliberately provocative and call a painting “The Truth”, then be prepared to tell the truth and hear the truth. Now he has a 1,620 square-foot painting he’s afraid to unveil. Maybe he should have tested the market with a miniature version!

The real Jesus was crucified almost naked, with only a loincloth, and in agony He said He felt abandoned by God Himself. Before a person can be like Jesus, they need to follow Him, to the cross, and Obama’s soul has fewer clothes than Jesus did.

Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

We’re still waiting for fruits, Mr. President.

Steve Z on April 28, 2009 at 11:12 AM

oh, btw, baldilocks is not quite as phony as some of the personalities discussed on this thread. . . well, she didn’t seem phony when I met her, at any rate.

Thanks…I think.

[dakine], you’re not much more than an annoying random pattern of pixel illuminations.

Wind Rider on April 28, 2009 at 8:56 AM

It’s impossible to take some anonymous person seriously when he/she “calls out” a person who’s real name is known.

baldilocks on April 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

You guys think too much. It’s meant to insult Christians.

That is all.

LtE126 on April 28, 2009 at 12:05 PM

who’s=whose

baldilocks on April 28, 2009 at 12:05 PM

well, well, well, if all you cons hadn’t been running around with pictures of Bush depicted like this…/sarc

kirkill on April 28, 2009 at 12:19 PM

ok, dakine, you’re a ‘high’ profile jerk here. You engage in trollish behaviour. I’m gonna call you out on your obtuseness.

arsewipe.

oh, btw, baldilocks is not quite as phony as some of the personalities discussed on this thread. . . well, she didn’t seem phony when I met her, at any rate.

You, you’re not much more than an annoying random pattern of pixel illuminations.

Wind Rider on April 28, 2009 at 8:56 AM

A predictably vacuous post from an idiot with a lame ass blog of his very own.

baldi, come on. You’re smarter than that aren’t you? Try again.

dakine on April 28, 2009 at 12:38 PM

OK, some people are just “Clueless”…. He probably should have showed the painting with the messiah walking on water….

DL13 on April 28, 2009 at 12:49 PM

Try again.
dakine on April 28, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Why? Is it important somehow?

baldilocks on April 28, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Ed,

“The Truth” and put a thorn of crowns
Thorn of Crowns?

loudmouth883 on April 28, 2009 at 10:14 AM

He who has never typo’d may cast the first backspace key! LOL

capejasmine on April 28, 2009 at 2:44 PM

He’d is full of crap to claim he didn’t realize it would provoke religious outrage. His statement reeks of the usual pseudo-intellectual “artist” claptrap. What an overinflated ego this guy has. I wonder if he’s ever sold any other paintings in his career? Now he’s got people’s attention, which is probably what he wanted all along anyway.

And his solution for placing Obama in front of the seal in order to conceal it has failed because even with most of it covered, at the angle he’s at, we still ought to be able to see part of the eagle’s head.

I agree with Ed. Not a very impressive rendering.

NoLeftTurn on April 28, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Any embassies or buildings burned down over this yet? Just wondering.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 28, 2009 at 3:27 PM

Outrage Du Jour: The Truth; Update: Artist can’t handle The Truth?

Barack Hussein Obama, aka Barry Soetoro, aka Barry Dunham, aka Barack Dunham, is no more holier than O.J. Simpson, or Charles Manson.

The argument that O.J. Simpson, and Charles Manson were killers, holds true for Obama. So far, under Obama’s direct orders, drones have bombed in Afghanistan, and Pakistan killing an unknown amount of good/bad people. Plus he ordered the three Somali pirates killed. My point is, you can’t put a crown of thorns on, and depict Obama Christ like, when in reality, he’s just another ordinary killer.

byteshredder on April 28, 2009 at 6:32 PM

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