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Obama Art Show


Just hit the art gallery on M street with all the Obama art. I can't tell good art from bad, but I did discern a heavy "Obama" theme, as these pictures attest. (Excuse me while I google the phrase Cult of Personality.) I also dipped into the bar at the Four Seasons, where I'm pretty sure everyone was from L.A. At one point I naively said to a patron, "So what are rooms running for here? About 500 a night?" She said, "Not even close." Try a thousand.



The line to get in went around the block. I had to flash the press pass shamelessly.





The pantheon.



By Joel Achenbach  |  January 19, 2009; 7:50 PM ET
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Might as well give artist Ron English the credit he is due:

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

The bottom painting (????) looks like the style of Thomas Hart Benton. At least that wavy corn field does. Maybe a bit like the (WPA-era?) Land Grant murals at Penn State, what with Obama clutching hoe and book. Except that the Land Grant ideal of educated farmers applying agronomic science never quite fully encompassed farmers who weren't white.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 19, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Three themes to the Manifest Hope Art Show:

Health Care Reform
Workers' Rights
The Green Economy

Partial list of artists alphabetized on a first-name basis:

Aaron Foster
Aaron Axelrod
Aaron Allen
Amy Martin
Andrew Bannecker
Andy Howell
Andy Powell
Billi Kid
Billy Colbert
Blue Lucy
Brian McCarty
Casey Ryder
Chad Mize
Charlie Becker
Chris Stain
Chris Pastras
Damon Locks
Dan Monick
Dan Funderburgh
David Choe
Deroy Peraza
Erneston Yerena
Estevan Oriol
Felix Jackson Jr.
Frederic Terral
George Vlosich
Ginger Che
Guillermo Bert
Herb Williams
House Industries
James Widener
Jason Hardy
Jason Dietrick
Jermaine Rogers
Johnathan Stein
Jon Wippich
Jovi Schnell
Jude Buffum
Judy North
Julie Adler
Julianne Walther
Justin Hampton
Justin Kemerling
Justin “Demo” Fines
Karen Wippich
Kate Crosgrove
Katherine Kendall
Keetra Dean Dixon
Kelly Towles
Kenji Hirata
Kwaku Alston
Larissa Marantz
Lisa Marie Thalhammer
Luba Lukova
Lukas Ketner
Margaret Coble

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Margaret Cusack
Mark Jenkins
Mason Fetzer
Maya Hayuk
Mel Kadel
Michael Cuffe
Mike Murphy
Mike Jacob
Mike Pare
Mike Perry
Mingering Mike
Munk One
Nick Dewar
Patrick Martinez
Paul Roden & Valerie Lueth
Rafael Lopez
Ray Noland
Regan Rosburg
Robert Indiana (cool)
Robbie Conal
Ron English
Sage Vaughn
Sam Flores
Sarah Hoskins
Scot LeFavor
Scott Hansen
Sebastian Martorana
Shel Starkman
Shepard Fairey (y'all know his iconic poster)
Sol Sender
Tanya Mikaela
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
Tes One
The Protist
Tim Conlon
Tim Tate
Tina Rodas
Tom Slaughter
Travis Millard
Tristan Eaton
Van Taylor Monroe
Yvonne Boogaerts

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Joel didn't show you any of the ore daring stuff:

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

DotC-It is very Bentonish.

Also makes me think of Grant Wood or John Steuart Curry. Did any of the three paint Lincoln in this way?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 19, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting those pics, Joel. Yes, some of them do seem a bit over the top. But I think that is to be expected when you have a President who inspires so many people.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

This is interesting, but a little disappointing, personally.

I was hoping to see an image of P-E Obama in his bathing trunks or perhaps even a Gladiator outfit.

Well, I suppose there's still time to work those themes for the Official Presidential Portrait...


Posted by: -bc- | January 19, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I think the one of Obama with the hoe (agricultural implement) is supposed to allude to Lincoln or another president.

That pose of a farmer with book in hand looks familiar.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

bc, nobody's stopping you from commissioning one for your own wall...

I like the license plate nation, and the bluebird of happiness one is spectularly done, among a lot of other amazing art. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes Wilbrod, it seems similar to this print:

Which I vaguely remember as a kid. I am sure there are many other variations.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

bc, i dare you to create and post your own obama art.

an artisit rendition of the hawaii swimsuit photo, perhaps? ;-)

Posted by: LALurker | January 19, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Norman Rockwell's "Young Lincoln" has an axe instead of hoe, a very different background, and Lincoln is looking at the book rather than forward. But the pose (and that folded jacket) is the same.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 19, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Good find, RD, even if not exact, that's what I was thinking of.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Joel, you mean you never had to take an art appreciation class up there at Princeton? I would have thought every reasonably educated collich grad knew how to tell good art from bad.

OK, I realize it's been a while since you were in school, and yes, I suppose we forget a lot of this stuff. So just to refresh your memory, here's a quick, sure-fire primer on art appreciation.

If there's a woman in the picture,and she's naked, it's "good art" if she's looking somewhere else, but bad art if she's looking right at you, unless her eyes are half closed. You can judge the degree of how good/great the art is by the chubbiness quotient. (Not buxomness, but rather pudginess. The more...calorie-endowed, the better the art is, up to a point. You'll know the point when yiou see it.

If there's several naked women, it's great art. Never mind where they are looking.

If she's dressed and holding a pitchfork and standing next to a bald guy who looks a little like Henry Paulson, it's probably a Grant Wood and "good art."

If it's possible she's naked but you can't tell because she looks like she was drawn by a 9-year-old, and she has eyes in weird places and a sharp nose, and nothing looks right, it is really really great art.

If you can't tell if she's naked because the painting looks like a tartan plaid under a microscope, it's a Mondrian: great art.

If its a plaster statue about a foot tall of a stunning, busty Viking-like maiden, it's a Frank Frazetta: great art. And a wonderful megaBPH gift, as it happens.

If she's not only NOT naked but looks remarkably like Elvis, and is painted on, say, black velvet, chances are it is NOT great art.

If she's not only not naked, she's not even in the painting, which shows some elven cottage by a small lake in the moonlight, it is a Kinkade. Place two tablespoons of salt in a glass of warm water, swallow, and regurgitate into nearby receptacle.

If she's naked but looks like a can of Campbell's tomato soup, it is great art. I know, I know. Just trust me on this one, OK? I'll try to explain it later.

If she has a staple in her navel, and a page crease across her knees, it is probably pretty good art. If she's wearing nothing but a man's dress shirt, it is really, really good art.

If she's not naked but is holding a shotgun, it is Sarah Palin. Not great art. Not even good art. Throw it out. If she IS naked, it's a fake Sarah Palin. Still not even good art...but don't throw it out. It might be worth something some day on Antiques Kitsch Roadshow.

If it has dogs playing poker, sad clowns, kids with big eyes, foxhunters, piles of fruit in poor light, or men in any kind of funny clothes, it is not good art.

OK, I think that sums it up. I'll be available here for questions, if you have any.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 19, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I think DotC found the definitive "Young Lincoln"

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

DotC takes the prize! Rockwell's painting with the WPA era Benton treatment. Spot on.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 19, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Nice research, Dave!

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Like the pictures, but I for one would be very interested in a bathing suit portrait.

How nasty a person am I for enjoying this Dick Cheney news.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 19, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

The precise link is :,66.html

Wilbrodog wants to know why dogs playing poker isn't good art. Is it because they have tell-tails?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog: it's because they aren't naked women.

C'mon, Dog. try and work with me here.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 19, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

dmd2, I only wish the pain was in his conscience and it had started 8 years earlier.

But we'll take what we can get.

(And you're not nearly as nasty as me in your schadenfreude).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

What if it was stripper poker
with naked women
in a pole dance on the tabletops
and dalmatians playing cards?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I literally laughed out loud when I heard about Cheney on Keith Olbermann's show. And then I saw this article in The Onion:

Posted by: seasea | January 19, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Splendid, Joel. Thanks for sharing some President-Elect art as part of the Inaugural Festivities. I keep contrasting this with four and eight years ago, asking myself, would anyone have filled an art gallery with W-themed pictures for his inaugurations? would performers have demanded the opportunity to give a concert outdoors in cold weather in honor of W's inauguration? Think what you will of him, Obama is inspiring folks like nobody's business.

And in a few short hours, W will be a private citizen once again.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

mudge, that is so funny. and well, pretty accurate.

Posted by: LALurker | January 19, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

seasea... I did the same thing.

Does that make us bad people?

Posted by: martooni | January 19, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

A new record (fast work) I had to make some art too.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Hearty thanks to Mudge for that concise explication of art, good art and bad art. There is a school of thought which suggests that one cannot "judge" art, and all art is good. Ivansdad and I fought it vehemently. When the Boy was young we inflicted museums and other experiences on him, to help him differentiate between "art", "good art" and "not art". Doctors' offices were particularly helpful for the latter ("see the picture of children with big eyes, sweetie? that's not art"). I used to take him to juried art shows and walk around the booths, asking what he thought of the exhibits. His responses were often illuminating.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

As of right now, Ivansmom, 13 hours and 48 minutes till Dubya is a private citizen again! Woohoo!!

Posted by: slyness | January 19, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Really like that Jumper - well done.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 19, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

And tomorrow I have to delete the Backwards Bush website link. With great pleasure.

Where's our Sara when we need her? I'll bet her definitions of great art would put Mudge's in the shade.

Posted by: slyness | January 19, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, Jumper!

Posted by: nellie4 | January 19, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Which direction are the women looking, W-Dog?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 19, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Great explanation of Art, Mudge. And yes I also laughed when Olbermann broke the Cheney story. I just set the DVR to record tomorrow’s events. I really wish I could stay home but I’m too responsible, darn it. I’d like to put my new Obama sticker on my car but it is covered in dirt and salt from all the snow (the car, not the sticker). We must have a foot and a half on the ground now, making up for last winter.

I cannot wait for tomorrow at noon. The best day in a very long time.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 19, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

And to think of all the great art I let get ruined under my mattress in my high school days. If only I had known I would have been a little more careful.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

obama held a dinner for mccain tonight:

sarah palin was not invited.

Posted by: LALurker | January 19, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

"Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!"

Has someone already mentioned this? The Robot has died:

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

The Prisoner, Khan, and The Robot. The geek death pool is now closed for cleaning.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I am *so* jealous of you DC area folks -- and not just for the inauguration.

The new episodes of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" are on Travel Channel right now and tonight's episodes are on DC food goodies.

I may have to do a road trip just to eat myself to death on the sheer variety of what some of you may take for granted that can't be found in Ohio for love or money.

Posted by: martooni | January 19, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I called JT's hat funny looking just to tweak you. Check out the hat in the lower left of this picture:

Someone else in his family had one just like it. I spent have the show staring at it.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "episodes" was a premature use of the word. The 11pm one is on and it's the same as the 10pm -- the TV Guide description said "new" for both and I just assumed...

But if you missed the 10pm one, it's on again now.

I now know the significance of "Ben's Chili Bowl".

Posted by: martooni | January 19, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

12 more hours...

Posted by: LALurker | January 19, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Where-ever you want them to look, Mudge.
-- lowered lids, looking off, and all that. There's more than one.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 20, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

The WaPo home page is 2 pages! Must be a lot going on...

Posted by: seasea | January 20, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

How cold is it over there tonight? I'm gonna get up at 5 p.m. to watch the festivities and will leave for work after the swearing in, 7 a.m. my time. Whew, should be one heck of a day!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 20, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

SCC: make that 5 a.m.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 20, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Six in the morning and the Post is already documenting the great migration to the Mall!

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 20, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Less than five hours!

Happy snowy Inauguration Day everybody!

The roads still look to be clear, so maybe my party will happen in spite of the weather.

Posted by: slyness | January 20, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. I hope Washington is milder than the other Federal Capital today, the cold is back. Less than 6 hours to go.

Rolling Stone magazine has an hilarious short story on Bush by Matt Taibbi. It's all in the spirit of bc's Harriet M.'s resignation letter but it's W's exit interview. We learn that the WH settled on waterboarding because Rummy likes the Khmer Rouge management style and Karl Rove went on a "vegetable hunt" to replace deceased Terri Schiavo. "He'd call long lists of registered Democrats, asking if they had a brain-dead wife they wanted to pull the plug on."

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 20, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Looks like everyone is resting up before the days festivities. Have an enjoyable day everyone.

I am thrilled to be able to experience this moment in history, too young to remember JFK and Kennedy, and much of the civil rights movement was before more my time or too distant for me to fully comprehend.

For me this day will be right up there with the end of Aparthied, the fall of the Berlin Wall and in a totally different way the signing and repatriation of our constitution here.


I shall try to listen to the stream online on the CBC - they had excellent coverage last night with, with a little more explanation for those of us not educated in US civics.

Now to go get more coffee and cease rambling.

Posted by: dmd2 | January 20, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

in one sense, i have been waiting for this day for eight years. seems like it's been longer than that.

in another sense, and clearly a more important sense, people have been waiting for this day for much, much longer.

people, get ready. there's a train coming. don't need no ticket. you just get on board...

best wishes to our new president, to all our good citizens, and to all the fine people who share so much wit and wisdom here.

Posted by: butlerguy | January 20, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle! Such a day to change the world.

Many doing chez Yoki and at work, but I will try to see some of the ceremonies on my 'puter.

I can only echo butlerguy (and very nice to see you it is too) in wishing President Obama, his family, and all his fellow citizens the very best.

Posted by: Yoki | January 20, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I have some errands and chores this morning (hopefully, I won't get caught in any traffic - it's been difficult arouns here lately), then I'm settling in for the Inauguration.

It's cold here, 14 deg F according to my thermometer. Anyone heading downtown today - please do what you can to stay warm, folks.

More later...


Posted by: -bc- | January 20, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. Butlerguy, it is good to hear from you.

Well, the landscape is white and icy, so definitely no walking this morning, unless I care to break a leg. And I don't think so. We have snow, people, the white stuff. Can you believe this?

Slyness, it's not spotty, it's everywhere. What does your neck of the woods look like? And I am sorry to hear about your aunt, hope she's doing better.

Mudge, Yoki, Martooni, Scotty, and all, the big day has arrived. *waving* Good morning, folks.

The opinion page has a comment section that invites us to place comments concerning our feelings about the inauguration. I read some of them, and most are hailing the day as historic, but there are a couple of sore losers in the bunch. No one, I believe, thinks that Obama can do this alone. I mean that's just common sense. He's a man, not God. What we hope is that he can inspire us to move forward, to bite the bullet when we want to run and hide. To roll up our sleeves and do the hard part. Of course, we're not a country that likes a lot of hard work, but we have the ability to do hard work. And that's the nugget that we have to keep in mind. We can do this, and the operative word is always "we".

I need coffee, and a cure for the cold. I suspect the coffee will be easier. I attended the MLK Day luncheon yesterday, and enjoyed it much. I don't really like attending such functions because people will want to talk, and I can't understand them, and when I tell them that, they keep talking and wait for a response to their question. Yet the music was nice, and the audience was huge. The speaker described himself as not chopped liver in comparison to Martin Luther King, and President-elect Obama, although not on the same level. He is a Superior Court judge in this county or the adjacent one, with ego to spare. His speech was good, at least the people seemed to enjoy it. I did hear him keep referring to "this time tomorrow", and looking at his watch, which got a huge response. All and all, a good day.

Have a great day, folks. Check on the elderly.

Time for the coffee.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 20, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

The ScienceSpouse and I have now eaten at Ben's Chili Bowl. Pretty good -- a little too salty (a common complaint for me). I like the sign: "Who Eats Free at Ben's? Bill Cosby. The Obama Family."

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 20, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Haven't been to Ben's. No I'm afraid to just because it's trendy.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

It’s such a great day but I will have to experience it on line and without audio at work. I feel fortunate that I can lurk here to get all your takes on the day. Happy, happy day everybody! Hi Butler Guy, like your quote about getting on the train.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 20, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I began this historic day by sleeping in, something I am seldom able to do. We will be watching the inauguration, of course, but I also plan to be as lazy as my household will allow.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 20, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Have a great day everybody. May there be dancing in the streets, or at least in your own living rooms.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 20, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse


Cassandra, I think you folks got more snow than we. My street is mostly clear, and the main road, half a block away, is obviously okay, given the speed of traffic. I plan to enjoy it anyway!

Such a happy, happy day. I have never been so excited about a change of regime as I am about this one.

Posted by: slyness | January 20, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Well, it is a New Day, uppercase. And there were many days I thought today would never come. In a way, I can hardly believe it. To paraphrase, our long national nightmare is over.

I think today we will stand down Dawn Patrol. Brag, no need to sweep the NO this morning. There's still coffee and bagels in the Ready Room for everybody (even some of you non-DP-flyers), but no need to go out to the flight line aafterward. Let's just have a second cup, and watch the TV. Somebody tell the ground crew to stand down, and come in and get warm and have a cuppa.

22 degrees here, bc. A tad warmer than up north where you are.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | January 20, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Ding Dong! ol' Bush is gone.
Which ol' Bush?
The Wicked Bush!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Bush is gone.
Wake up - America, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Bush is gone.
He's gone where the Texans go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
The Wicked Bush is gone!

Posted by: Boko999 | January 20, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!
All quiet here. I-270 must be jammed, no noise from there drifting this way.

Posted by: Braguine | January 20, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

The sun is shining!!! What a welcomed sight for all of us, but most especially those souls who are pouring into DC.

We will be at home, in front of TV, getting teary, just thinking about Hooray!!!!

Jumper, your portrait of Obama is wonderful, shades of confetti floating 'round.

Posted by: VintageLady | January 20, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Cheney will show up in a wheeeeel chair.

Moving daze.

Bushes arm is in a sling from throwing his shoulder out patting himself on the back.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 20, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Liked your photos of portraits, too, Joel.

Posted by: VintageLady | January 20, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm still holding onto my pessimism, so I can't be disappointed. There's still time for Bush/Cheney to "discover" some new "responsibilities" of the Commander in Chief. I won't permit myself to feel relief until after the oath of office.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 20, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

New microkit, guys.

Posted by: Kim1 | January 20, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, Tim,

Bush ended his first war ... by leaving office. I guess everyone will see Gaza pull out complete by 11 am eastern.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 20, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Manifest Hope DC for the honor of including my 2 pieces! I'd like to help further by donating 25% of proceeds of my limited edition prints on sale now.

Posted by: derekgores | January 20, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I figured maybe you'd be interested in an artist I am featuring on my site. He's an amazing sculptor/painter who uses modern US coins as his medium. His latest work is a portrait of Barack Obama made up of pennies and nickles.

Posted by: JennCQ | January 21, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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