Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Obama Apotheosis

"Fountain of Hope," by Ron Keas

Here we go again. More apotheosis of Barack Obama. More elevation of the sitting President to divine status.

The New York Times, under the auspices of simply reporting on what's happening out there, gives us yet another spread of Obama celebration art ("Obama's Face (That's Him?) Rules the Web," May 30, 2009). (Of course, I am also publicizing these things in my own small way, but you know where I stand on the matter.) One of the paintings is just dreadful. Perhaps the title of the article recognizes that. "Team Player" is just trite. It depicts Obama in a D.C. basketball uniform wearing #1.

Get it? Sure you do.

There is also one that is quite good ("Looking Presidential" by Mimi Torchia Boothby) with his wedding ring figuring prominently on his pensively and prayerfully placed hand.

Then there is the man in the white suit. What does Ron Keas have in mind with "Fountain of Hope?" In the background is the White House in front of which is a fountain of white water, in front of which stands Barack Obama dressed entirely in white: suit and shirt, but no tie. My wife's first reaction was that he does not look like an American President. American Presidents don't wear white suits. As usual, she put her finger on the central disturbing point. He looks like a Central or South American dictator. Even facially, he looks like a thin Hugo Chavez. And of course, this glorification by art is what they do with their leaders in dictatorships.

The apotheosis is in the phrase "Fountain of Hope." God, according to the well-known hymn, is the "fount of every blessing." The image of a fountain or spring is that of an inexhaustible supply of blessing, in particular of water, the means of life, and thus figuratively of life itself. Psalm 36:9 says, "For with you (the Lord) is the fountain of life; in your light we see light."

I thought perhaps that the artist intended to criticize either the President or his followers with this painting. But, no. Ron Keas is just a terrible painter. See for yourself at keasart.com. He has a whole series of hagiographic paintings of the next re-founder of our republic. He also does Marilyn Monroe and Elvis.

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