In the painting that has stirred a touch of controversy in Anchorage, Alaska, a naked likeness of actor Chris Evans, the latest to play the comic-book hero Captain America, holds aloft the severed head of President Donald Trump in his left hand, a protest sign in his right, and in between are his private parts carefully hidden behind a smattering of pixels.
Where is former 49th state Gov. Sarah Palin when you need someone to say, “WTF”?
A man’s genitals are so offensive they need to be hidden in a painting depicting the same individual holding aloft the severed, blood-dripping head of the president of the United States?
Is this some kind of commentary on where America is at today? Is it the artist’s symbolic statement about how the country has become more tolerant of violence than of private parts?
Or was this all driven by the Motion Picture Association of America rating system? Was University of Alaska art instructor Thomas Chung simply trying for a PG rating to get his art hung at the university?
The MPAA rating system is much more tolerant of movies in which people are cut-up, shot-up or blown-up than it is of those in which they people, as they used to say, “make love.”
“‘I was reminded of those 80’s rock posters, where there’s a woman in tattered clothes clinging to a strong male hero’s leg,’ Chung, a graduate of Yale University, told KTUU’s Mike Ross. ‘After Trump was elected, I spent days just weeping. And it was really surprising, because I’m not a political person. I am a social artist. I deal mostly in ideals of culture and global culture, but this election bled into that.'”
Well, that at least covers Chung’s feelings. Craigmedred.news wanted to ask Chung what exactly he was trying to say about those feelings in the painting, but he did not return a phone call.
He clearly is not of the “make love, not war” club, though the sign Evans is holding does quote Chief Seattle, an oft-quoted source, saying “Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand it. Whatever he does to the web. He does to himself.”
The quote seems a little at odds with the severed head. If this painting is what Chung has done to the web, what will the web do to him?
And then there is the image of what Chung says is a younger version of failed Democrat presidential candidate Hilary Clinton in a pants suit, not tattered clothes, with her arms wrapped around Evans’ leg and a troubled look on her face as if she needs a big, strong man to save her, or us, or somebody.
And the dead bison on the ground behind Evans’ other leg with the words “MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN” carved into its hide.
Yes, there are more than a few things to talk about here: Racism, misogyny, violence, private parts, manners, the eagles nipping at Evans’ ears, the very noticeable wedding ring on Hilary’s finger (so she hasn’t dumped that rascal Bill yet), and the word EVERYTHING carved into the platform on which Pine stands.
Paul Berger, a one-time adjunct professor at the university who complained about the painting being hung there, said he thinks the pixellated genitals are intended “to protect the LGBT crowd,” but that doesn’t make any sense in a time when Americans have decided they don’t care who hangs out what junk in which bathroom.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t care who takes a wee-wee next to me. I’m just glad my mother who is long gone is long gone. God rest her soul.
The university has supported keeping the painting on the wall in Anchorage in the name of free speech and freedom of expression. There are those who have objected. I feel for them. It’s got to be hard to be against political correctness and argue for political correctness.
But this would have been a lot better if Chung had at least come up with a painting containing a little something to offend the vast majority of Americans: Say maybe an image of Martin Shkreli with his junk fully exposed holding aloft the head of President Franklin Pierce with a poster quoting Adolph Hitler in his hand, Gwyneth Paltrow clinging to his knee, and a dead ox emblazoned “Death to America.”
Then again, maybe that wouldn’t have been topical enough to offend.