Michael D’Antuono ‘Crucified Obama’ Painting on Display in Boston
A controversial painting depicting President Barack Obama in a pose resembling the crucified Jesus Christ is on display at a community college art gallery in Boston.
The Boston Globe reports that Michael D’Antuono’s “The Truth” is currently on display at the Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery in Boston. The painting shows the president holding open a pair of curtains with his arms outstretched in the same position as Christ’s on the cross while wearing a crown of thorns on his head as Jesus did when he was crucified.
Plans to display the provocative painting in New York’s Union Square were scrapped in 2009 after outcry from Christian groups.
“The Truth,” which is part of an exhibition called “Artists on the Stump: The Road to the White House 2012,” will be on display until December 15. It features work from more than 20 artists.
“Some of our shows are meant to be thought provoking,” Karen Norton, spokeswoman for Bunker Hill Community College, told the Globe. “The exhibit was intended to coincide with the presidential election, and it represents different points of view pertaining to politics and our political leaders.”
D’Antuono said that “The Truth” is a satirical commentary on the conservative media’s “crucifixion” of Obama and right-wing mockery of the president as the “savior” of the Left.
The text accompanying the work reads:
“This painting was inspired by watching conflicting reports on the same issues on the different cable newscasts and the effect on their viewers. Peoples’ perceptions of the issues seem to get distorted though their political lenses. People have had drastically different interpretations from this painting. What you see in this painting will be a reflection of your own partisan view and that is precisely the point.”
“People were very upset and I was in no way comparing the President to Jesus,” D’Antuono told the Globe. “That wasn’t the concept of the piece; I just took the things that were associated with Obama at the time.”
Nevertheless, D’Antuono has incurred the wrath of many Christians for what they see as his blasphemous work.
“Disgusting. You must be an atheist. I cannot imagine anyone else mocking Jesus Christ in this manner,” Barbara Carpenter wrote on D’Antuono’s Facebook wall.
“This is sick and very disturbing,” added Crystal Boudreaux Miller. “One day you’ll have to give an account for your blasphemous depiction of our Savior Jesus Christ! For every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess. Obama has never been treated even close to how Jesus was treated.”
Some conservative websites also criticized D’Antuono’s work. Truth was also lacking in a portion of Fox News’ coverage of “The Truth.” The right-wing site fallaciously reported that it “shows the president on the cross with his arms outstretched.” There is no cross in the painting.
D’Antuono acknowledged the right of those who are offended by his work to criticize him, but said that mutual respect for the right to free expression is necessary.
“I’m not denying them their right to speak and conversely they should not deny me,” he told the Globe.
The artist told Fox News that he regretted his decision to cancel his planned exhibition of “The Truth” in New York.
“I always regretted cancelling my exhibit in New York because I feel my First Amendment rights should override someone’s hurt feelings. We should celebrate the fact that we live in a country where we are given the freedom to express ourselves,” he said.
The controversy surrounding “The Truth” comes just after comedian Jamie Foxx jokingly referred to President Obama “our Lord and savior” at the Soul Train Music Awards in Las Vegas.
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