Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Art of the day

The Pentagon officially unveiled the portrait of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a ceremony on the 25th. The painting, which "shows Rumsfeld at his stand-up desk with a picture of first-responders and soldiers unfurling the flag over the still-burning Pentagon on Sept. 12, 2001", joins his other portrait from his tenure as Secretary in the seventies. That's right, this asshole has two portraits.

On the bright side, it was also relatively expensive by government portrait standards.
At the upper end of the scale, the Defense Department awaits the expected February completion of a $46,790 portrait of controversial former secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
Well, let's be clear, the portrait was supposed to cost $46,790 and be completed in only a few months, but due to poor planning, an insufficient amount of paint, Code Pink protests, and a host of unknown unknowns besieging the project, the painting spiraled out of control, ended up costing several billion dollars and taking several years to paint, and is still relatively unfinished. All in all, a fitting metaphor for his tenure. Also: they served snowflake shaped sugar cookies at the reception!

To turn this in an art critique blog for a second; the picture is fine and the 9/11 imagery befits the monomaniacal obsession with and co-opting of the attacks that the Bush Administration engaged in. But can I ask, what ever happened to the standard "man on a horse, pointing off into the distance... as if pointing at the future" style of portraiture? I would actually start to respect Rumsfeld if he comission a multi-million dollar, 20 foot wide painting of him, dressed as Napoleon, sitting on a chestnut mare in front of a battlefield. Maybe that can be Gates' portrait.


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