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The Obama Portraits:
But Is It Art?

American Thinker, by Tim Mostert

Original Article

Posted By:magnante, 2/17/2018 9:14:28 AM

When I was in art school, studying pretentious subjects alongside pretentious students taught by pretentious professors, we had the privilege of learning about basic forms of visual expression, expressed at their highest levels. (snip) The recently unveiled Obama portraits are of a type that I have seen many times in my career as an artist and art historian. The poses are wooden, the compositions hackneyed, and both subjects have obviously been copied from photographs. To make up for the technical weakness of the painting´s execution, the artist relies on gimmicks to drag their image over the finish line, hoping that


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Reply 1 - Posted by: doctorfixit, 2/17/2018 9:34:58 AM     (No. 11546765)

Like everything else about Bath House Barry Soetoro, it´s a scandal. The "artist" racist paints pictures of european-american women being beheaded by blacks. Perfect choice for the racists-in-chief.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: uno, 2/17/2018 9:48:35 AM     (No. 11546783)

The 20th century had the Coneheads.
This century it´s the Spermheads!

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Reply 3 - Posted by: readaholic, 2/17/2018 9:57:14 AM     (No. 11546795)

Michelle must be extremely disappointed in her amateurish and unattractive portrait that doesn´t even look like her. Hoist by her own petard, I´d say.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Ribald1, 2/17/2018 10:03:05 AM     (No. 11546804)

Of course it is ´art´. Everything an ´artist´ does is ´art´, just as anything a woodworker does is carpentry.
Just as dung and thatch can be a home, this can be art.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: PAdiva, 2/17/2018 10:10:39 AM     (No. 11546811)

The subliminal messages are endless with these ugly portraits. BUT the portraits need to be where they are...because....in several years there will be glorious portraits of Mr and Mrs Trump. The standards will be higher. And people will continue to laugh at the obama portraits. MAGA

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Reply 6 - Posted by: grahamcracker, 2/17/2018 10:11:24 AM     (No. 11546814)

There was a comment on Rush’s post on Facebook calling the portrait “Blooming Idiot” !

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Reply 7 - Posted by: ginadee, 2/17/2018 10:16:03 AM     (No. 11546821)

Portrait porn.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: rolfnader, 2/17/2018 10:17:04 AM     (No. 11546823)

I´m planning to take up a donation to construct a "Bi-sexual wing" of the National Gallery. Maybe a place to wait for a vacancy at the urinal.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: lostinmassachusetts, 2/17/2018 10:21:31 AM     (No. 11546831)

It is fitting that the portraits of the most incompetent and pretentious POTUS and FLOTUS ever to disgrace the White House should be created by "artists" just as incompetent and pretentious as the subjects of the portraits themselves. I hope they hang in the hall of portraits for a very long time as a reminder to the American people of their error in hiring such people.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: jhpeters2, 2/17/2018 10:32:36 AM     (No. 11546852)

Of course that is art. Art that owes a hat tip to beheading white women. Sums up 0bama nicely.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: joew9, 2/17/2018 10:35:30 AM     (No. 11546855)

Frederick Hart sculpted some fantastic statues of solders on the top of the Viet Nam Memorial wall tending to wounded comrades. Maya Lin, a young art student did the concept of a wall with name plaques. (I have a similar artistic expression on my mailbox using my street address. You probably do too.)
At the unveiling Frederick Hart was asked by the young lady "did it hurt when the plaster cast was removed from the models faces?". He was confused. Finally he understood and she was amazed when he told her he had sculpted the statues free hand.

From Tom Stoppard play - Artist Descending Staircase.:
"Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art."

An internet search of the Viet Nam Memorial artist sadly only returns Maya Lin.

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Reply 12 - Posted by: BeatleJeff, 2/17/2018 10:45:55 AM     (No. 11546867)

"The Obama portraits are a sad reflection on how bad a choice someone can make when given the opportunity to do something great."

Wow! That could be the epithet for the entire Obama Administration.

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Reply 13 - Posted by: Nevadadad46, 2/17/2018 10:47:40 AM     (No. 11546870)

Like I said before, it is almost like a "Higher Hand" had something to do with these portraits. The Obamas are exceptionally limited and shallow people- They were and are - like Hillary and Bill, Frauds, perpetrated upon the American political landscape by connivers, liars, and America haters. Yes, the people elected them, but under highly unusual circumstances that were like little perfect storms that should never have happened-

But, the Obamas were special because of their sheer magnitude of arrogance, hatred and incompetence. And so- because they are such clods, they select these totally grotesque paintings for their perpetual historical remembrance to the nation´s intellectual conscience. Isn´t that perfect?

Basically these (Hell, I don´t know what to call these monstrosities of "art") junk pictures are the kind of "Clown on Velvet" mass produced things you win at a county fair for throwing darts at balloons. They are amateurish, technical disgraces of the painting art that will always show exactly what a disaster the Obama regime was. Let us pray it also serves as a pair of "Danger- Radiation!" signs for all future American generations.

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Reply 14 - Posted by: laotzu, 2/17/2018 10:56:08 AM     (No. 11546881)

Great commentary. Sums up my own thoughts with none of the snark or vitriol.

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Reply 15 - Posted by: coldoc, 2/17/2018 11:15:28 AM     (No. 11546902)

By what I´ve seen of most african "art" it seems about average.

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Reply 16 - Posted by: jalo1951, 2/17/2018 11:27:12 AM     (No. 11546921)

The portraits are butt ugly and boring. In other words, perfect.

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Reply 17 - Posted by: P51dmustang, 2/17/2018 12:06:18 PM     (No. 11546967)

Its wall paper used in the basement commode.

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Reply 18 - Posted by: TXspyder, 2/17/2018 12:09:17 PM     (No. 11546969)

2 dimensional portraits for 2 dimensional people!

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Reply 19 - Posted by: Mackrand, 2/17/2018 12:30:29 PM     (No. 11546984)

The public dialogue on what should be a fairly mundane government process where these Presidential Portraits are generated for future edification has swamped their intended purpose. The level of disapproval coming from the public cannot be unobserved by these two ex presidential players. Somehow I would imagine that the level of pride of even the smallest awareness of these players would prevent them from admitting that these portraits were unacceptable. Instead they foolishly choose to be nothing less than ecstaticly approving of how they present.

I believe that these two portraits will be displayed intact as currently intended in Washington, DC for future generations to reflect on the personas so captured. They are such an enormous distance from what could be called the regal countenance of previous presidential occupants captured in the same DC setting that it will be noted by many to be so visually jarring as to be unacceptable for contectual viewing.

The critical reviews I imagine will continue to be extensive.

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Reply 20 - Posted by: Quigley, 2/17/2018 2:12:04 PM     (No. 11547085)

Bwahahaha! Outsourced art for an outsourced pResident. Cheap foreign knock off of "art."

Leading from behind all the way.

The essence of crap captured essentially.


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Reply 21 - Posted by: WI Cynic, 2/17/2018 2:23:51 PM     (No. 11547092)

Convincing the mark that you´ve provided them just what they wanted is an art, isn´t it?

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Reply 22 - Posted by: DCGIRL, 2/17/2018 2:52:56 PM     (No. 11547116)

Obama´s portrait reminds me of the "fairy president".

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Reply 23 - Posted by: bobn.t, 2/17/2018 3:19:16 PM     (No. 11547126)

Gorillas in rags.

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Reply 24 - Posted by: nerdowell, 2/17/2018 3:45:24 PM     (No. 11547156)

He may be--let´s say-- wrongly right about the matter:
They aren´t cliche´s exactly. They strive for novelty, which the author notes eclipses all other standards. Innovation trumps insight now. The obligation it imposes on the artist has become tiresomely predictable.

The absence of convention makes this thing so dreadful, but also most revealing of the subject. It´s garish, egotistical, the handwork of third-world agitprop factory workers--a real departure from the convention of being the work of a single discerning individual in the direct presence of the sitter.

The color is overwhelming, it stains indelibly. It´s iconic,opaque and superficial, lacking physical substance that would cast a shadow. It´s an apparition floating in sea of plastic green leaves engulfing him like a school of piranhas. They are already starting to devour him. This thing truly has no precedent; it is innovative.

The portrait gallery is valuable as a record of our presidents, going through you get a genuine sense of those men and their era. The president gets the portrait he deserves, as we get the president we deserve.

Obama´s picture is exactly that, a gaping sore amidst a gathering of generally admirable men. Some day he will go away, but that thing will remind us of all he was. It belongs to the ages.

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Reply 25 - Posted by: Zarin, 2/17/2018 11:22:13 PM     (No. 11547419)

This was a very educational read for me. And the L.dot comments too! I especially looked at the portrait by Diego Velázquez and then researched the portrait work by Titian & Raphael that define the medium. Mr. Mostert says: "Art is art when it exists to showcase the pure expression conveyed by the creator." Art has a largely spiritual element - it is a conveyor of the subtle non-material aspects of our lives. These painters were trying to ´make a statement´ and they only know how to do that by being gimmicky. Therefore the work is not honest. It is commercial & material. Someone called the pictures paint-by-number and that is sadly all they are.

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Reply 26 - Posted by: Mickturn, 2/18/2018 2:49:07 AM     (No. 11547479)

What talent this artist has to capture flatulence on canvas!

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