WBUR

Glenn Beck Calls Obama Painting In Boston ‘Offensive,’ But Free Speech

Glenn Beck weighs in on Michael D’Antuono’s painting “The Truth” (behind him), now on view in Boston.

BOSTON — A painting of President Obama — standing with his arms outstretched as if crucified like Jesus and wearing a crown of thorns — on view at Bunker Hill Community College has some calling it “blasphemous” to Christianity, while conservative commentator Glenn Beck defends it — sort of — as an example of free speech.

“I think it’s offensive. I don’t think it’s close to reality but whatever floats your boat, Jack. I support his right to do exactly that,” Beck says of Michael D’Antuono’s painting “The Truth” in a video this week (below). But Beck argues that the American Constitution supports the right of the artist to make offensive work. Then adopting a mock artistic manner, Beck proceeds to submerge an Obama doll in a Mason jar of yellow fluid as his own expression of free speech. “Now some will say all Glen Beck did is put the President in a jar of pee-pee, and while technically correct, yes, I prefer to call this work of art by its more appropriate and professional title. I like to call this, ‘Flowbama.’” Or as a sign on the pedestal below the thing reads: “Obama in Pee Pee”

D’Antuono’s Obama painting is included in a show of political art that was timed to the recent November election, “Artists on the Stump: The Road to the White House 2012,” with works by 23 artists scheduled to be on view through Dec. 15.

D’Antuono, a former illustrator, is a painter of blunt political allegories—Grover Norquist as the Wizard of Oz, Wall Street “fat cats,” Obama as Robin Hood, a policeman in a Klan hood. He originally planned to debut “The Truth” in New York in spring 2009, to mark Obama’s first hundred days in office, but reportedly canceled the exhibit after complaints that the work insulted Christianity.

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  • Art Crictic

    Glenn Beck is a douche. He has no understanding of art, Serrano’s piece may not be the most beautiful thing but at least he had a meaning behind his work. Beck on the other hand only did this to show what a giant ass he is, no artistic value only malice.

    • tinskip

      You are a douche he is just saying what others won’t

    • QDefenestration

      Your definition of art seems overly narrow, which is hilarious, given that Beck’s stunt was sparked by his own overly narrow definition of art. It’s a parody piece, and that in and of itself gives it meaning.

      Doesn’t make him any less of an ass. But let’s be fair; he’s calling a work of art offensive and then putting forward his own parodic offensive piece, while at the same time defending both his, and Serrano’s (and D’Antuono’s) right to make and display these “offensive” pieces. That’s kind of an unexpectedly positive position for an extremist reactionary like Beck to hold.

  • Nick Sophinos

    I am a paying subscriber to both wbur and Beck. Both valuable to me.

    • Samaritan

      So… how is your cognitive dissonance feeling today?

  • http://www.facebook.com/MercysDaughter Michelle Tafoya

    Glenn Beck is not an artist and his self-proclaimed freedom of expression using urine is just gross and nasty. He adds nothing to either American society or the human experience.

    • http://www.facebook.com/benjamin.m.vansickle Ben Van Sickle

      Performance art perhaps…

    • gallowaygrumblefield

      So that’s who this Beck guy is. I guess I haven’t missed anything.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fissionesque Daniel Ekström

      Not that I’m defending him, but he got the idea from the famous pisschrist photo.

    • QDefenestration

      It’s a parody of another controversial piece.

  • J__o__h__n

    Damien Hirst should do a scupture of Glenn Beck.

  • Considering The Source

    Sorry, Beck never deserved a comment from me. I can’t have a battle of wits with the unarmed.

  • Liberty

    Illustrating the absurd by being absurd. Genius. “…so if you are offended by this one, or this one …sucks to be you doesn’t it? Welcome to America…” Couldn’t have said it better myself. The power to offend lies 100% with the offended. You cannot be offended without your permission.

  • Frank

    Glenn Beck calling anything offensive is really priceless….

  • http://www.facebook.com/fissionesque Daniel Ekström

    And here I was thinking Glenn Beck was going to take the high road. I was thinking “Wow, I’m impressed. He is offended by it, but respects the artist’s right to free speech.” Then he does something completely juvenile and we’re back at square one again.

  • jack

    I like the picture of Glenn Beck…looks like he’s having a stroke. If only.

  • kathyjones

    Who cares. The left wingers always complain and want certain people to go away but they are the ones always having a need to talk about them. A left winger is never happy unless they’re miserable.

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