Saturday, February 4, 2012

Expression Through Art

Throughout history, art has expressed a time period or a political position. For years, we've seen those on the left push the envelope with art, be it painting or film, and then when someone criticizes them, they scream that person is violating their free speech and artistic expression.

This week, Jon McNaughton's "The Forgotten Man" (pictured above) has been making headlines. As explained by the artist, the man on the bench represents all Americans in search of the American dream, yet are being blocked and ignored by the President, who is seen with his back turned to the man and standing on the US Constitution. Also on the ground in front of this man and the President is the torn up Bill of Rights and dollar bills carelessly tossed aside. The 42 other presidents are standing behind this man; some in dismay (Reagan), some in great anger (James Madison); all under a cloudy sky depicting a coming storm, and an American flag on the White House flying at half staff. As someone who enjoys visiting art museums and analyzing an artist's work, on either side of the aisle, this painting conveys clear symbolism to get people talking.

But in terms of McNaughton's work, the "free speech and artistic expression crowd" doesn't like this painting, and the reaction against it is creating quite a stir, as can be seen from the vitriol in some of the comments on McNaughton's YouTube page. As had occurred back in 2009 with the Obama as Joker painting, the left's double standard has been exposed.

In creating "The Forgotten Man," McNaughton has listened to the words and observed the actions of this president, which inspired him to express his First Amendment right in this form. Jon McNaughton's powerful "The Forgotten Man" has grabbed the attention of Americans in this election year and will likely facilitate many more discussions on the topic of the Barack Obama Presidency.

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