Controversial Utah artist’s new painting pays tribute to ‘contemporary abolitionists,’ but critics call it exploitative and culturally clueless
The artist in question, Jon McNaughton, is a politically conservative Mormon who incorporates both political conservatism and Mormonism into his art. Many of his paintings are pretty blunt statements of politics and/or faith, blunt to the point of being propaganda with all the subtleties of a 90-page “speech” in an Ayn Rand novel. Still, he is a reasonably skilled painter and illustrator, and boy howdy does he get some people riled up.
This latest illustration deals with abolitionists rescuing people from slavery. What’s got people annoyed is that the abolitionists in question in this painting are, first and foremost, Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard and his wife, who have the audacity to be white people trying to rescue brown people from the sex slave trade. *Apparently,* Operation Underground Railroad actually employs people like mercenaries to actually rescue actual slaves from actual slavery. If this is in fact accurate… I can’t see why anybody but a slaver would have a problem with this. But OF COURSE people have a problem with the “optics” of a white guy rescuing a brown kid, because reasons. Seriously. Read the article. People are miffed.
Additionally, the painting includes talk show bloviator Glenn Beck, sure to annoy the bejeebers out of the progs.
I don’t have a lot of use for a lot of McNaughtons art, as it tends to be heavily religious and, distressingly, rather theocratic. A number pf his paintings push the notion that America was founded as a Christian theocracy and that’s what we should get back to, which is a point of view I gotta say I can’t quite get behind. But, hey, it’s his art and more power to him. It’s worth pointing out that his way of expressing his ideology in art is to apply paint he bought to a canvas he bought… as opposed to the Progressive approach to art which is generally to apply spray paint to someone else’s property, or to apply flame to books, bricks to storefront windows, hammers to statues, bike locks to foreheads, force to free speech.
If you go through the catalog of his art, you kinda get the impression that he was not a terribly big fan of Obama:
As I said, a lot of his art is religious, and to my eye rather disturbing. Such as this:
Fortunately, there’s this thing called “Photoshop.” Some years ago, someone improved it…
See? *THIS* is how you do ideological art. McNaughton painted what he liked. Didn’t hurt anybody or damage their stuff or deprive them of nuthin’. And someone else digitally reworked a piece of McNaughton art into a parody/homage/more accurate representation of the Chtulhu-laden future that awaits us all. The proglodyte approach, however, would be to firebomb the art gallery hosting the painting, or trying to pass laws to get it banned.