Skip to comments.Botero's paintings of Abu Ghraib shunned in U.S (a chill wind blows through the art world…)
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."
They only mock those they can mock without risk.
-"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.
I wonder if the artist feels the Iraqis are entitled to the same freedom of expression that he so seems to enjoy here.
Oh sorry, these are the pictures from Santa Claus Training School.
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 Picassos 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.
Posted by Rocco DiPippo @ 12:02:00 AM Eastern Time
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.
Really, if the artist wanted to portray the horrors of war, why not deal with the prison when the former management was running it?
[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"...
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.
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