Creator of Controversial Obama Painting Admits He Thought the President Was Being 'Crucified by the Right'
Glenn Beck interviewed Michael D'Antuono, the artist who painted "The Truth," an image of President Obama with his arms extended as if he was being crucified and wearing a crown of thorns, during the conservative talk show host's Wednesday program on TheBlazeTV.
During the discussion, the painter stated that he did not intend to portray Obama as Jesus Christ, but after Beck replied "I don't buy that," the artist confessed that he was trying to convey the concept that "Obama was being metaphorically crucified by the Right."
If he says the sky is blue, they are going to say it's red. And blue is a communist color anyway. If he says he likes puppies, they are going to say, well, he hates kittens. So he was being crucified no matter what he did.
Beck then applied the hypocrisy test: "Would you think that you would ever paint something of me, that I am crucified by the Left?"
"Well, uh, I haven't given that any consideration," D'Antuono replied sheepishly.
Earlier in the discussion, the artist said that "the painting does not convey my own personal opinions. It is more a mirror reflecting the personal opinions and prejudices, preconceived ideas of the viewer. It's kind of a sociological experiment."
As you might imagine, Beck replied: "I dont buy that bullcr--; come on. How do you not say this is an image of Christ? He is splitting the veil, you know that, right?"
D'Antuono responded that there are so many "interpretations," and the curtains could stand for "creating transparency."
When asked about the President's crucifixion pose, the artist replied that Jesus was not the only person crucified.
"Crown of thorns?" Beck asked.
"It could be," the painter responded, "but I'm not comparing him to Jesus."
"This is so dishonest," the exasperated host stated.
Finally, D'Antuono admitted he saw the possible "religious reference" in his work.
Beck then discussed a few of D'Antuono's other paintings, including one that features a Caucasian policeman wearing a KKK hood and holding a gun to the head of a young black boy who is wearing a white hoodie and holding a bag of Skittles.
The painting was supposedly "inspired" by the Trayvon Martin case but did not represent it, the painter said. Beck responded incredulously that he found it "extraordinarily offensive."
The interview was part of a series of events in which Beck has discussed the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Earlier in the week, the conservative commentator tried to duplicate an obscene work of art by submerging a bobble-head doll of the President into a mason jar filled with "pee pee," which was in fact was water with food coloring.
The goal of the stunt was to duplicate Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ." But when Beck attempted to sell the figure on eBay for $25,000, the online service pulled the ad, citing that it "does not sell bodily waste."
As NewsBusters previously reported, "The Truth" was actually painted during the first 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency and was to be exhibited in New York City. However, the showing was canceled due to overwhelming public outrage, including thousands of emails and phone calls; online blogs and other public commentary.
Apparently undaunted, D'Antuono produced another painting that showed Obama at a news conference in which the reporters were wearing 3-D movie glasses with the color of their lenses representing their respective political views.
However, some of the most surprising things about the Wednesday interview occurred after the debate.
D'Antuono admitted that he did not expect Beck to be "such a reasonable person."
Yeah, I don't know how I'm going to go home and tell my family. I expected you to try to tear me apart . I think that's the reputation you have from the Left, but it's not true.
For his part, Beck said::"There's not enough people on either side that are seen in the media that can have an honest conversation."
After Beck mentioned the fact that D'Antuono does not watch his show, the artist replied: "Well, I may start."
Who knows what D'Antuono's next project might be? A painting of conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh in a Superman costume? A picture of Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid sitting on a huge document with the word "Budget" on it? The possibilities are endless!