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Botero's paintings of Abu Ghraib shunned in U.S (a chill wind blows through the art world…)
Reuters ^ | Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:56pm ET

Posted on 10/25/2006 8:09:30 AM PDT by dead

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Colombian artist Fernando Botero's paintings and sculptures grace museums and public spaces around the world, but he suddenly had trouble exhibiting his work in America when the topic was Abu Ghraib.

A series of paintings depicting U.S. military abuse of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison was rejected by all the U.S. museums to which it was offered before it found a home at the Marlborough Gallery in Midtown Manhattan, where it opened last week and will remain on display until November 18.

"Here there is total freedom of expression. That's why it was so alarming that the museums didn't want to show these works," Botero told Reuters in an interview at the gallery on Tuesday, surrounded by paintings of stripped and bound prisoners being abused by guards with dogs.

The paintings are derived from texts describing the events, Botero said, and do not mimic the famous photos.

"I wasn't revealing anything that wasn't already known .... I was disappointed that this artistic vision was not shown," said Botero, 74, whose Jack Nicholson-like hair has turned gray.

"They tell me there have been many angry calls to the gallery," Botero said.

Botero said he never bothered to ask which museums turned him down. The institution that attempted to place the work, Art Services International, referred questions to its director, who was unavailable for comment.

Art critic David D'Arcy said museums were hesitant to antagonize the government, especially since the uproar over photographs by the late artist Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1980s.

"If it were other works by Botero, they would have been taken right away. He's probably the most recognizable contemporary artist after Christo," said D'Arcy, contributing editor for Art + Auction magazine and correspondent for The Art Newspaper.

"The last thing they want is to be stigmatized. There was a time when museums were eager to shock people. I don't think that time is now," he said.

ACCEPTED IN EUROPE

Botero's Abu Ghraib exhibition has been seen in three European museums and Botero said he has offers to display it at several others.

He said he was so shocked by the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that he departed from his trademark work, which depicts blissfully rotund people in whimsical, non-threatening settings.

"It led me to work 14 months with an obsession," he said.

The result was 42 drawings and 38 oil paintings that he began five months after investigative reporter Seymour Hersh unveiled the abuse in The New Yorker magazine in May 2004.

Botero fans may be shocked to see a gallery of his work portraying violence, sexual abuse and torture in the same style, composition and colors that have made his work so popular with the public, if not always with the most exacting art critics.

Botero called the Abu Ghraib project an "aside" and that he has since returned to painting his jolly, oversized crowd-pleasers.

"They are never fat. They are volumetric," Botero said, correcting what he considered a reporter's oversimplification of his characters.

He hopes the exhibit will find a home in a U.S. or European museum, but it is not for sale. It will be donated, he said.

"I don't believe in making money off human suffering."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abughraib; fernandobotero; howaboutsaddam; whatacrock
Botero said he never bothered to ask which museums turned him down. The institution that attempted to place the work, Art Services International, referred questions to its director, who was unavailable for comment.

A bunch of museums turned down my art for political reasons, but I can’t name a single one.

Art critic David D'Arcy said museums were hesitant to antagonize the government, especially since the uproar over photographs by the late artist Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1980s.

"That is a shocking “fact” that I just pulled out of my ass. Do you like it? Is it art?"

"The last thing they want is to be stigmatized. There was a time when museums were eager to shock people. I don't think that time is now," he said.

Am I nuts, or does this article clearly state that these painting are currently on display in a Manhattan Art Gallery. How can it be censorship if they’re on display for all to see?

He said he was so shocked by the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that he departed from his trademark work, which depicts blissfully rotund people in whimsical, non-threatening settings…"It led me to work 14 months with an obsession," he said…Botero called the Abu Ghraib project an "aside" and that he has since returned to painting his jolly, oversized crowd-pleasers.

Yet another tragedy of the Abu Ghraib scandal – fourteen months worth of paintings of happy fatty people in non-threatening situations lost for eternity. I weep. I weep.

1 posted on 10/25/2006 8:09:32 AM PDT by dead
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To: dead
At the risk of getting this forum permanently shuttered by George Bush’s anti-art storm troopers, here is a collection of unhappy chubby people being tortured Abu Ghraib style!


2 posted on 10/25/2006 8:10:09 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead

Death by Trans Fat.


3 posted on 10/25/2006 8:13:04 AM PDT by TruthShallSetYouFree (Abortion is to family planning what bankruptcy is to financial planning.)
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To: dead

Give it to the Iraqis. Americans are known to be biased against fat people, and that is what he paints. Quite often he paints them in the bathroom. He will win world reknown that has so far been denied him with this "obra." Sin verguenza.


4 posted on 10/25/2006 8:13:40 AM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: dead
As further evidence of the prevalence of censorship in George Bush’s America, my collection of artworks, entitled “Abu Ghraib Goes to Disneyworld” is also not on display in any museum in America.


5 posted on 10/25/2006 8:14:05 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead
Normally I like Botero (because I love outdoor-for-everyone-non-political-happy art exhibits) but, oh my, these are just silly looking.
6 posted on 10/25/2006 8:15:03 AM PDT by AnnaZ (I keep 2 magnums in my desk.One's a gun and I keep it loaded.Other's a bottle and it keeps me loaded)
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To: dead

LOL!!!!!!!!


7 posted on 10/25/2006 8:15:05 AM PDT by cicero's_son
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To: dead

Starving them wasn't one of the accusations, apparently.


lol


8 posted on 10/25/2006 8:15:40 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: dead
LOL!!!

I love you.

9 posted on 10/25/2006 8:16:17 AM PDT by AnnaZ (I keep 2 magnums in my desk.One's a gun and I keep it loaded.Other's a bottle and it keeps me loaded)
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To: dead
Even Apple is getting into it.


10 posted on 10/25/2006 8:16:39 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Dancing through life like a street mime with tourettes syndrome.)
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To: dead
A kitsch artist trying to become a Relevant Artiste...and tries to stir up some publicity, though he doesn't even bother to find out the names of the museums that are "silencing" him?

Yeah. Suuuuuuuure.

11 posted on 10/25/2006 8:18:17 AM PDT by Darkwolf377 (Republican, atheist, pro-life)
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To: dead

He should have shown smokers being tortured. Nanny staters would have flocked to "nauseums" in droves.


12 posted on 10/25/2006 8:21:24 AM PDT by cripplecreek (If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?)
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To: dead

I just spit my soda all over the keyboard..thanks!

I'll never look at Splash Mountain the same way again...


13 posted on 10/25/2006 8:21:33 AM PDT by Sterm26 (Death before Dhimmitude!)
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To: dead

The islam kooks are more likely to kill you over this than anything else.

I think cair should be notified of this guy's work.

They might do a rushdie on him.


14 posted on 10/25/2006 8:22:38 AM PDT by staytrue
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To: dead
OPPPS Coke on the monitor. That is funny! You should send that to a Museum!
15 posted on 10/25/2006 8:23:44 AM PDT by Syntyr (Food for the NSA Line Eater -> "terrorist" "bomb" "plot" "kill" "overthrow" "coup de tas")
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To: dead

Wonder if those same "Museums" would display a painting showing Mohammed behind the the butchers of Nick Berg directing them to cut his head off...


16 posted on 10/25/2006 8:26:43 AM PDT by Syntyr (Food for the NSA Line Eater -> "terrorist" "bomb" "plot" "kill" "overthrow" "coup de tas")
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To: AnnaZ
(It's so nice to be loved!)

I've enjoyed Botero's work too (he's like Lucien Freud, for the non-insane.)

Who doesn't enjoy paintings and sculptures of harmless funny fat people? But I have to admit, I kinda like seeing them tortured too, though. Stupid harmless funny fat people had it coming.

17 posted on 10/25/2006 8:28:13 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead
kudos. lol.

i'm still waiting for the south park spoof of a beheading video.

18 posted on 10/25/2006 8:28:43 AM PDT by zarf
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To: dead

why not an exhibit of the attrocities of Saddam in Iraq; the beheadings of innocent people by the terrorists.....????


19 posted on 10/25/2006 8:29:06 AM PDT by auto power
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To: dead

Holy shit. I had no idea of the cruelty we engaged in. Feeding this guys McDonalds day and night!!! What a horror. Let the punishment fit the crime, death by Big Mac to those who perpetrated this crime!!!


20 posted on 10/25/2006 8:29:57 AM PDT by FlipWilson
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To: dead
How about some outrage from the libertine art world navel gazers about the real abuse and torture visited upon real Iraqis for 20 years plus?

They only mock those they can mock without risk.

21 posted on 10/25/2006 8:52:58 AM PDT by ecomcon
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To: dead

-"It led me to work 14 months with an obsession," he said.-

Whatever. He can only draw one guy, it seems, so I guess 14 months would be about right.


22 posted on 10/25/2006 9:03:26 AM PDT by AmericanChef
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To: dead
"Here there is total freedom of expression"

I wonder if the artist feels the Iraqis are entitled to the same freedom of expression that he so seems to enjoy here.

23 posted on 10/25/2006 9:14:38 AM PDT by Lekker 1 (("...the world will be...eleven degrees colder by the year 2000" -- K. Watt, Earth Day, 1970)
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To: dead
These look like some homosexual's chubby bondage fanstasy drawings.


24 posted on 10/25/2006 9:29:17 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: SkyPilot

Oh sorry, these are the pictures from Santa Claus Training School.


25 posted on 10/25/2006 9:37:37 AM PDT by rdax
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To: SkyPilot

That's odd. These paintings were uncovered a year and a half ago, but are just now starting to stink?
From Moonbat Central:
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Artist Botero Portrays Abu Ghraib
Prominent Columbian artist Fernando Botero recently unveiled a series of paintings depicting the abuse of terrorist detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. "I, like everyone else, was shocked by the barbarity, especially because the United States is supposed to be this model of compassion," said Botero while explaining why he chose to paint the prison scenes. Botero is known for usually painting still lifes and peaceful scenes featuring highly stylized heavy-set people.

The Abu Ghraib paintings, which grossly exaggerate the treatment of terrorist detainees by U.S. military personnel, are being hailed as masterpieces and compared to Picasso's Guernica by leftist moonbats world-wide.

“`Abu Ghraib,' the numbered 1-50 paintings, will always be about Bush, and not the proverbial `few bad apples' serving as scapegoats," crows Ben Tanasborn in the anti-U.S. Middle East Online.

"We're fortunate to have men like Botero to shine a light on the real machinery of Bush's terror-apparatus. Already, 100,000 Iraqis have died in a gratuitous act of aggression, entire cities have been flattened and 17,000 Iraqis languish in overcrowded gulags waiting for an improbable turn-of-events," writes Mike Whitney in die-hard Stalinist Alexander Cockburn's neocom publication, CounterPunch, reminding the right-minded that they're fortunate to have men like David Horowitz to shine a light on the real machinery of the radical-left's anti-U.S. agenda.

Weighing in on Botero's Abu Ghraib series, leftist "Art for Change" blogger Mark Vallen says, "What Botero has achieved is nothing short of a contemporary equivalent to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, the masterwork painted in outrage over the aerial bombing of civilians during the Spanish Civil War," in a shining example of typical leftist false equivalence.

Opining that Surrealism is equal to neurosurgery makes about as much sense as comparing Picasso's Guernica, a painting that captures and concisely emotes the horror of the deliberate slaughter of approximately 1,650 Spanish civilians by Franco and the Nazi Luftwaffe, to Botero's Abu Ghraib paintings, which are misleading and highly sensationalized depictions of the nature of the humiliation that a small group of terrorist prisoners experienced at the hands of a miscreant few.

In the future, Mr. Botero and other famous artists might consider the challenge of tackling the subjects of the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Hussein's mass graves, the brutal torture and murder of prisoners by Che Guevara, Castro's prisons, the North Korean Gulag, the Soviet gulag, the results of a Palestinian suicide bombing, radical Islamists' treatment of women, the murder of Theo Van Gogh, the treatment of Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Paul Johnson, Ken Bigley and other unfortunates at the hands of Islamic "freedom fighters," the Cambodian genocide and the murder of 3,000 innocents on September 11, 2001, to name a few, since it is indeed a formidable challenge to create art that exaggerates the horror of that which is in reality already maximally horrific.
We're waiting...
Posted by Rocco DiPippo @ 12:02:00 AM Eastern Time


26 posted on 10/25/2006 9:45:31 AM PDT by tumblindice (The main stream media: is there anything they can't do?)
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To: dead
There was a time when museums were eager to shock people.

Museums rely on the public to donate money. I would cancel my Art Institute of Chicago donations if they had this there, and I've been donating for about 10 years.

27 posted on 10/25/2006 10:20:27 AM PDT by technochick99 ( Firearm of choice: Sig Sauer....)
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To: dead
Yep. They look starved and beaten. Must be all that cooking with lard.

Really, if the artist wanted to portray the horrors of war, why not deal with the prison when the former management was running it?

28 posted on 10/25/2006 10:24:43 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

[cue Jet-"Are You Gonna Be My Girl?"]

And then one of the posters on another board I hang out on had an animated-.gif avatar of that guy acting out "I'm A Little Teapot"...

29 posted on 10/25/2006 10:27:22 AM PDT by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich!)
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To: dead
What US Troops did in that prison was a cake walk compared what's taking place now by the Iraqis. The dems demanded that this prison be put back in the hands of Iraq...they got what they wanted yet NO one is reporting the abuse taking place there now. Except for one little article out of the UK...

Of course, the traitors living in NY needed to help the dems in this election cycle so they allowed this...what a whole bunch of crapola.

30 posted on 10/25/2006 10:33:14 AM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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