The Cavity Search by Bruce Elliott
Do you remember the painting depicting Republican Vice President hopeful Sarah Palin in the nude during the 2008 election? You know-- the painting that grabbed the attention of national news coverage simply due to its subject? Remember? Well, the man behind the painting, Bruce Elliott, has decided to place another politician in an awkward situation. His subject-- Governor Rod Blagojevich from Illinois.
Elliott’s recent painting, which is already receiving press in Chicago, depicts a nervous Governor Rod Blagojevich (Democrat) with a prison jumpsuit pulled down to his knees. In the painting Blagojevich is positioned as if he is looking at the viewer as a guard stands near wearing a rubber glove. The painting, titled “The Cavity Search”, pokes fun at Blagojevich‘s potential future if he is found guilty of attempting to sell Barack Obama‘s former seat in Illinois. The Governor from Illinois is currently caught in the throws of scandal over the issue.
The artist has stated that he created the painting because the criminal complaint against Blagojevich “stunned” him. He has went on to say that he did it to appease individuals who criticized him for having painted Sarah Palin in the nude. I think it is safe to say that he painted it because he has found the golden ticket for gaining news coverage within the current political climate.
So what is the point in subjecting my readership to The Cavity Search? Simple. I find it disappointing that the mainstream media is so quick to latch on to works that focus on political figures or political scandals-- especially when said works would not be relevant otherwise. I don’t want to be too harsh on Bruce Elliott and his paintings, but I don’t find them to be overly skillful and I think the mainstream media is doing a huge disservice by throwing artworks like The Cavity Search into the spotlight.
Perhaps Bruce Elliott should take a lesson from Shepard Fairey, the artist behind the iconic image of Obama titled HOPE which was 'inspired' by Alberto Korda's famed shot of revolutionary Che Guevara, and ‘reference’ a better image before creating his own work. Elliott could take it a step further and follow Shepard Fairey’s knack for infringing on the copyright of political artists from the past without giving credit where credit is due-- as Fairey did by exploiting the posters of Felix René Mederos Pazos without permission from the Mederos estate. Or maybe, just maybe, the mainstream media can learn a few things about art-- and the artists behind the work-- before reporting on it.
Is this the ‘new art’ fueled by Obama’s campaign that so many of my peers have been writing about at length? We all know that Shepard Fairey’s image of Obama titled HOPE-- with a steady flow of media attention-- spearheaded this ‘revolution‘. All I can say is that the one good thing about revolutions is that they are normally short. Until that time I suppose artists like Bruce Elliott will continue to ride this wind of change-- and easy media.
Take care, Stay true,