The Art of Condi
Each week, veteran Condiwatcher Peter Huestis (also known as Princess Sparkle Pony) provides a summary of the searing wit and infinite wisdom of America's Favorite Princess Diplomat™!
Last week, our plucky favorite asked for just over a thousand new secretaries, skipped off to London and then hooked up with dreamy David Miliband for an OMG SURPRISE trip to Afghanistan, but I had trouble paying attention because I kept getting distracted by touching artistic tributes to Madame Secretary scattered all over the web. Learn more about Condi's week and the Condicentric art world after the jump!
Last week was one of those funny weeks in the career of the secretary of state. She really had to go to a lot of effort and spend a lot of time to accomplish hardly anything. Truly, Condi is a gifted human being. Things got going on a humorous note on Monday, when Madame Secretary and George, fresh from a weekend at Camp David, decided that the State Department needed, oh, like, about 1,100 new people to, you know, be diplomats and stuff. With only a year to go, anybody who has ever had to deal with the Office of Personnel Management knows that this desire is hilarious. It's hard to imagine why they'd have a difficult time finding people to work for the world's most beloved government spokesmodel.
For the most part, Condi's week could most accurately be described as NATO-riffic as she mounted her "charm" offensive to get England and others to try a little harder in "bumpy" Afghanistan. She went all the way to London to wring her hands at David Miliband, their cute, Bud Cort-like foreign minister. And then they made a secret surprise visit to Hamid Karzai, and they talked some more about Afghanistan. And then they went home. The funniest part was when Miliband said, "We're not here to create a colony." Speak for yourself, bub!
But anyway, well, Condi didn't do much to inspire last week, so let us look elsewhere to see how she's been inspiring people in other fields. How, for instance, have The Arts™ found her as a muse?
Well, you're in luck, because there's a brand new show at the Orange County Museum of Art which features, among other things, Karen Finley's touching tributes to Condi's eyes, hairdo, shoes, etc., depictions which bring tears to my eyes. You may recall Ms. Finley in one of her earlier incarnations as a performance artist who, among other things, smeared her body with stuffed bunnies soaked in raw eggs, so clearly she is uniquely qualified to grapple with Ms. Rice's comparable charms. According to her dealer:
Media images of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice are extracted and analyzed, isolating wisps of hair, eyes, hands and shoes, transforming familiar gestures into small figure studies reminiscent of post-Impressionist sketchbooks. In a large-scale graphic work, Rice's eyes are dropped as bombs from a military plane, transforming Iraq war imagery into a Surrealist landscape.
Next, let's head to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and be reminded that a pretty girl is like a melody by Luc Toymans' cleverly titled The Secretary of State, his sensitive portrayal in oil of Condi from 2005. I think he's really found her inner beauty. "It's a modern Mona Lisa," claim the kids at artnet, "a picture of a cipher. The canvas is small, but Rice's head is massive within it. She looks simultaneously imposing, pinched, irritated and isolated. Full-size she'd be a monster." Some would say that full-size, that's true anyway, painting or not!
And indeed, like the Dutch Mr. Tuymans, artists well beyond America's borders are inspired to new heights of superb fancy by our pretty diplomatrix. The thumbnail here for instance, shows Siegfried Woldhek's touching pen-and-ink salute to Madame Secretary's dentistry. And who could forget the adorable Condi/Scorpion hybrid? Clearly, artists the world over will grapple with her elusive pulchritude for generations to come.
That's not to say that all Condi depicters are beret-wearing Eurotrash, because naturally there are home grown limners anxious to give it a go. I love the pouty, sullen Madame Secretary shown here, portrayed by Santa Cruz painter Hildy Bernstein, who seems to be better known as a landscape artist. After seeing her endearingly fauvist Condiportrait, though, I can't imagine her not doing a roaring business depicting all the local politicians as well. Clearly Ms. Bernstein's admiration for her subject knows no bounds. If I ever have children, I'm forgoing Sears Portrait Studio and trundling the tykes off to the Bernstein atelier.
Elsewhere on the web, you may enjoy Jerry Breen's "Pretty in Pink" Condi, Cheryl Harper's stoneware Condoleezza's Cabinet, Paul McCall's folksy Condi with an Aunt Jemima surprise, Mitchell Marco's disappointingly respectful pastel, and Christa Maiwald's purpletastic headshot. If you'd like to come up with your own portrait, you can choose to learn to draw Condi either as a dominatrix or as a bad drawing by a guy on Youtube who also draws "ghoul warriors," which makes Bush Administration officials fairly similar territory.
For my money, though, all the examples above, even the fancy-pants museum objects, somehow don't quite cut it. To really get to the essence of Condoleezza Rice, shouldn't one reach for the materials which come closest to reflecting her majesty, good taste and stylishness? Well, yes. And that's what brings us to the end of our artistic quest for the ultimate portrait. And you can buy it now! Please regard the black velvet Condi:
Of course! The medium which best captured crying Elvis and astrological signs as sexual positions is, of course, also the best suited to Condi's noble features.
And with that settled, all that is left is for Condi to see how flatteringly she's portrayed by, you know, history and such! It's bound to be super pretty.
PREVIOUSLY: Condoleezza's Glamorous World of Dinner Parties & 9/11