Art has always been a tool for advancing politics, but this political artist may not be having the intended effect on his viewers. Jon McNaughton, a political artist for his famous painting skewering former president Barack Obama, has just come out with a new piece in support of Trump. And it’s hilarious.
McNaughton painted his first piece, “The Forgotten Man,” in 2010, to mark his dissatisfaction with the Obama presidency. In it, President Obama poses in front of a group of disappointed former presidents.
In the foreground, slave-owner James Madison is outraged because a black man is President of the United States. Oh, whoops, my editor says it’s actually supposed to be because Obama is trampling on the policies that the Founding Fathers held dear. Like liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and good, old-fashioned “unpaid labor”
But McNaughton’s depiction of Trump’s presidency, titled, “You Are Not Forgotten,” is even better.
In it, Trump is surrounded by apparently loving voters, and he welcomes a Sad J-Crew man back into America while crushing a snake with his foot (wait, isn’t that the opposite of what free-market advocates want?)
I’m confused by Sad J-Crew Man planting a seed in the middle of a paved road, and by the woman slopping water all over his shoulder. But not nearly as confused as I am by what’s happening in the background.
The depiction of Trump’s America in the voters massed behind him is so ridiculously out-of-touch that it’s funny.
First of all, the America who elected Trump had a lot less melanin than this nice group of people. White people (both men and women) got Trump elected. And Trump’s ambivalence on white-nationalist violence in Charlottesville doesn’t inspire much confidence that he means to represent people of color.
Secondly, Trump is surrounded by military personnel, including the weeping woman behind him. Seriously, why is she crying? Is she one of the transgender service people Trump has barred from the US military, drawing the ire of many of the Army’s retired top brass?
And it’s very touching that the gentleman in the wheelchair showed up to support a president who supports the deregulation of health care costs, which may make health care more difficult to get for anyone with pre-existing conditions. Oh well, at least the girl standing in front of him is too young for Trump to creep on.
When talking to CBSLV about his original painting, McNaughton said, “I want to communicate my ideas. Isn’t that the purpose of art?” If that’s the purpose of his Trump-praising painting, then he may need to find a new job. One that doesn’t require a grasp of irony.