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.