Dec 032017

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.




 Posted by at 10:13 am
  • Michael

    Maybe it’s time for the progressives to offer their version of ideological art.

    I grew up in a family that spent a lot of time reading the Bible and going to church. From that experience I decided that churchgoers of that intensity lack a light touch in any aspect of their lives. McNaughton’s painting are disturbing to me, too.

    (This probably in bad taste, in context, but the picture of the explosion behind Obama caused me to remember a question: what does a warhead look like as it’s falling? Does it glow like a meteor? Does it leave a contrail?)

  • James

    Yall still don’t get it. If our rights are based upon a piece of paper they can be changed. If they are based upon the government we can be enslaved. IF they are based upon the idea of God it becomes much more tangled.

    Basically, god has to change them and sense he is unavailable for comment…

    • Scottlowther

      > IF they are based upon the idea of God

      *Which* God? The god of the Bible, who was cool with slavery and genocide, and hated democracy, shellfish, mixed fabrics and figs that refused to grow out of season? The god of the Koran, who was even *more* cool with nastiness?

      And how about believing that somehow rights vi a Constitution are inherently dubious because it can be changed, yet religions are supposedly somehow fixed? Like the Bibles got a whole new testament tacked onto it, finally, fixing it firmly in place… until Martin Luther & co. decided to chuck a couple books, Because Reasons? And then Joe Smith tacked on a whole bunch of new stuff? Or how everything gets retranslated not only for new languages, but for new cultures, and to adapt to *changing* cultural norms?

      Ain’t no such thing as a firm, fixed understanding of rights, no matter what anyone says. What god says what about the right to be uploaded into the Matrix, or the right to be cloned, the right to go back in time and change your own past, the right to be frozen for a few centuries to see a whole new world, the right to genetically tinker with your offspring to make them “better?”

      • Michael

        I’m sure some will consign my soul to a special corner of Hell for this, but it’s always been my feeling that anyone who claims their legal status comes from any kind of god are persons who are endeavoring to avoid responsibility for that status, and hoping that no one might challenge them. (Churches make a lot more sense if you assume they’re private clubs.) .

        • Scottlowther

          Wait till they discover that their special legal status comes from Loki or Azathoth.

      • Kopis

        *Hierarchy* of law:

        1 – God / Nature / The Creator ===> Creator makes the rules, e.g. gravity.
        2 – Man —> Creations, agreements of Man, see creator makes the rules.
        3 – Corporations/government – 2D world, rules, regs., admin., etc.

        Who ‘created’ you? Does ‘the state’ own you? – rhetorical
        And before going nitty-nit picky, this refers to *general substance.* See “Declaration of Independence,” “Bill of Rights – 9th Amendment.”
        Also, the reality is there are lots of Gorillas with pointy sticks in corporations & governments making things difficult. Largely due to people not taking responsibility for their actions.

        “Civilization” is still a thin veneer….can you say dictatorship? Tyrant? – rhetorical

  • publiusr

    I wish I could paint that well.