In Florida, a new art exhibit called "Controversy" features 45 works that "generally make some kind of social or political statement." Artist Alfred Phillips' contribution to the show? A portrait of President Bush bent over an oil barrel, on the receiving end of a Saudi prince's vigorous exploratory drilling. We can't find any photos of the painting online, but apparently it was shocking enough to cause fellow artist to complain:
Michael Friedman, the artist who complained to the county, said the painting is offensive and tasteless...Friedman himself entered a piece depicting Pope Benedict XVI with several swastikas in the background. "Sodomy in a public forum is not, from my perspective, considered art," he said. "I think somebody has to draw the line somewhere."
Absolutely! If artists don't draw lines, who will? And, anyway, who wants to hang a painting of the President getting Saudimized over their living-room couch? People want something classy and tasteful, like a Swastika Pope. Meanwhile, Alfred Phillips is upset that his portrait of Bush "was mounted differently" than other paintings in the show. If you ask us, though, that sounds totally in keeping with the painting's theme. — GREG BEATO
Pressure to Remove Graphic Painting of Bush[Florida Sun-Sentinel]