(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Sure, all US embassies and consulates have portraits of the current president hanging in the offices; he is, after all, Head of State. But… Well… This is just a bit much:
Large tapestry portraits of President Barack Obama were unveiled for guests at the U.S. Embassy in London over the weekend.
The recently-installed, large-scale tapestry portraits were created by National Medal of Arts winner and renowned American painter, photographer Chuck Close.
Call me old-fashioned, but if you want a large piece of art decorating the entry to a United States embassy, the first thing visitors see, why not a work that reflects the history of the United States? Christy’s “Signing of the Constitution,” for example, to celebrate one of our seminal events, or Rockwell’s “Abraham Delivering the Gettysburg Address,” in honor of what many feel is the moment of our second Founding? Or, to borrow Rockwell again (1), why not showcase “Freedom of Speech,” that most American of values, which both embodies and guards the right of a free people to rule themselves? Instead we get giant portraits of one man?
All art is communication, after all, especially public art, and art displayed in an embassy should reflect the nation’s values, how it sees itself, what it holds dear, its spiritual center, its… Oh, wait. I get it.
In this case, I guess it reflects the government’s spiritual center.
(1) He was the all-American painter, after all.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)