A New York artist, whose controversial painting of President Obama on view at Bunker Hill Community College has been called “offensive” by conservative commentator Glenn Beck, is in very good company.
In a video earlier this week, Beck compared a copy of Michael D’Antuono’s painting of Obama, standing with his arms outstretched as if crucified like Jesus and wearing a crown of thorns, to some of the widely celebrated masters of Western art of the past five hundred years.
“I don’t like any of these paintings,” Beck said pointing to framed reproductions of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, Pablo Picasso, Lucien Freud and Jackson Pollock (or “Polack,” as Beck called him), before pointing to a copy of D’Antuono’s work and saying, “and I hate this one too. But he’s absolutely right, you go to a museum, I have a right to see all of these.” Because, Beck said, all are protected by free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
If there were any reason to doubt Beck’s, um, art critic bona fides, this is it. You’re welcome to not like any of these paintings. But putting D’Antuono’s work in the same category as Rubens? Naah, can’t be done.