Even now, with The One safely elected, I can’t quite believe this isn’t an elaborate piece of performance art engineered by Fairey to prove a point about political idolatry. As a goof on the cult of personality surrounding Obama, it can’t be improved upon: The leader, larger than life, reduced to the level of abstraction via the color scheme and Orwellian all-capped text, the better to render him the personification of a glorious ideal. Imagine a similar image of Bush circa 2004 emblazoned with the word “Victory.” Think the media would have noticed?

The best part: Fairey describing himself as a “counterculture artist.” Hey, Shep? You’re about as counterculture at this point as the official portrait painter for the Pope. Except that (a) the Pope’s not as powerful (or sacrosanct) as your guy is, and (b) the Pope’s guy might be doing it for the money, not out of blind religious devotion.

Tags: Barack Obama