Photo of the Day: Soliloquy VII
Photography by: Sam Taylor-Wood
Censorship! That’s what some art lovers were whispering during a recent Hillary Clinton fundraiser. Two weeks ago, a Clinton fundraiser for 250 invited ladies was held at the Woodley Park home of Tony and Heather Podesta. The candidate was missing and so was the infamous artwork, Soliloquy VII, which led to hushed whispers that the picture was deemed unsuitable for a presidential campaign. The huge photograph of the nude man was missing from its usual spot on the living room wall, and some guests concluded that “politically correct” Clintonites had demanded that the naked guy disappear.
The Podestas are part of Washington’s Democratic elite: He’s a top lobbyist and the brother of Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta; she just launched her own lobbying firm. They’re also nationally known collectors of contemporary art, and one of their favorite pieces is Soliloquy VII, an eight-foot-tall color photo of a nude man lying on his back, by British artist Sam Taylor-Wood. “It’s an iconic photograph in political fundraising circles,” Tony Podesta said yesterday. The $250,000 picture made quite a backdrop at a fundraiser for Clinton’s earlier Senate campaign, where the official photographer spent that night with his back to the art trying to prevent her from appearing in a shot with the naked guy. “She teases me about it all the time,” said Podesta.
Hillary’s Earlier Senate Campaign
In fact, the 8-foot naked-man photo is not a “documentary-style” photograph. In more cultured art circles, it is described as a modernization of painter Andrea Mantegna’s 1480 devotional work The Lamentation of the Dead Christ, which depicts the Virgin Mary, accompanied by Mary Magdalene and John the Apostle, weeping over the body of Mary’s crucified Son. Taylor-Wood faithfully replicates the original’s composition, here photographing, in vivid color and minute detail, a young man laid out on his back. Just one thing: Taylor-Woods omits the shroud and displays his subject in all his nakedness. In fact, this modern replication omits the Virgin Mary, John the Apostle, Mary Magdelene and the cold stone slab on which Christ was laid in Mantegna’s painting. Taylor-Wood’s naked man sprawls on a bed with fluffy pillows.
No matter what reasons Mrs. Clinton might give for not attending her latest fund-raiser in the Podesta’s private photo gallery of a home, the fact that it took place says at least two things: Many years after she first tried to dodge being caught there with a naked man, she didn’t mind exposing her supporters to the Podestas’ art collection. And, this election seems to be about a lot more than just our economy and our national security. It is about our culture, too.
Visiting a Taylor-Wood Art Exhibition (U.K.)
Let’s not forget that a similar thing occurred on the Obama campaign trail many months ago!!
Snake Charmer: A Painting by Jamie Boling
When Barack Obama arrived for his campaign fundraiser at a Virginia art gallery earlier this week, one large painting had been concealed rather quickly behind a curtain. There had been concerns that the painting by 33 year-old artist Jamie Boling might embarrass Senator Obama, who spoke to a gathering of about 500 supporters on Tuesday night at Richmond’s Plant Zero art gallery. The painting, which is shown above, is a 6′ x 10′ work entitled Snake Charmer that is based upon the now infamous paparazzi photo of Britney Spears, sans underwear, stepping out of a car that was being driven by Paris Hilton. Strictly for purposes of fine arts education, that photograph is presented below:
Please Stumble this one for poor little Britney!!
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