Art And Response

Wagist – The Racist Art of Michael D’Antuono

April 13th, 2012

Scottscope

[This is a localized version of the article originally published at Wagist.com]

Artist Michael D’Antuono released his take on the Trayvon Martin shooting this week, with a piece entitled, “A Tale of Two Hoodies.”

Two Hoodies

It portrays George Zimmerman as Caucasian, wearing a police uniform and a KKK hood, and pointing his firearm directly at Trayvon Martin’s head. It shows Trayvon Martin as being approximately four feet tall, ten years old, and offering the gun-brandishing Zimmerman a pack of Sweeties candy. (more…)

Agabond.com – Michael D’Antuono “A Tale Of Two Hoodies”

April 4th, 2012

Abagond

Michael D’Antuono: A Tale of Two Hoodies

Saturday, April 4, 2012

[This is a localized version of the article originally published at Abagond.Wordpress.com]

A Tale of Two Hoodies

“A Tale of Two Hoodies” (2012) is an oil painting by Michael D’Antuono, a White American artist.  It shows a white policeman in a Klan hood holding a gun on a little black boy in a white hoodie while he holds up a bag of Sweeties that looks like a bag of Skittles. On the wall behind them a dirty American flag is partly peeled away to show the Confederate flag that whites fought under to defend slavery.

D’Antuono says of the painting:

Inspired by the Trayvon Martin case, this painting symbolizes the travesty of racially profiling innocent children and how present day prejudices affect policy.

The important word here is “inspired”. That means he was thinking about the Trayvon Martin case when he painted it, not that it is a painting of the Trayvon Martin case. It is not a piece of news reporting like this picture from the Vietnam War of a suspected traitor being shot in the head on the street:

Instead, like most of his pictures, it is about the state of America, much like Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With” (1964):

“A Tale of Two Hoodies”, whether intended or not, shows at least three truths about race in America not seen through the white lens:

  1. The asymmetry of racism – Many whites see blacks and whites as being equally racist and equally powerful. Yet blacks are outnumbered by whites by more than 5 to 1. Whites have a hundred times more wealth. They run most of the institutions of society. That would not matter if they were not racist, but they are, so it does.  The picture shows that imbalance: not only does the white person hold the gun, he is older and bigger and is pointing the gundown at the black person, making it even more asymmetric than the Vietnam War picture. The picture can also be read as “stealing candy from a baby” – which pretty much sums up the relationship that whites have had with blacks from that moment some 500 years ago when they arrived in Africa with – guns.
  2. The Klan with the badge – That might seem over the top but it is not. The police and the Klan have a common root in the slave patrols. So much so that my picture of the police was pretty much that of a slave patrol – before I even knew what a slave patrol was! The police get away with murder, racially profile, act above the law and see blacks more as some kind of threat than as people to protect.
  3. Whites have not changed deep down – as shown by how the Confederate flag was right there behind the American flag the whole time. Most white people are like that. You can tell because they are more upset at being called a racist than at being a racist.

In that he painted about race in a Rockwellian style, it brings to mind ”The Problem We All Live With” and how little progress has been made.

ArtThreat.com – Michael D’Antuono challenges US government’s monetary redistribution

February 24th, 2012

Art Threat

(Original Article at Art Threat)

Michael D’Antuono’s work is striking. His background as an illustrator sets a foundation for a remarkable oil painting style – deep shadows all set among poignant messages. After years of being instructed what to draw, the contraction of severe tendonitis led him to lay down the pencils and pick up oil painting – a move he says does not pay as well, but is much more rewarding. (more…)

Sundance Channel – Independence (from oil) Day

July 2nd, 2009

Sundance Channel

Independence (from oil) Day

July 2, 2009

[This is a localized version of the article originally published at SundanceChannel.com]

Independence

The concept of July 4th as “Oil Independence Day” or “Energy Independence Day” has been floating around for several years: everyone from bloggers to magazines to the Speaker of the House has touted the concept. This July 4th, New York-based artist Michael D’Antuono will add his voice to the debate with the unveiling of the paintings Dependence and Independence in Washington Square’s Garibaldi Plaza.

D’Antuono recently raised a furor with his painting The Truth, which celebrated President Obama’s 100th day in office. The painting portrayed the president wearing a crown of thorns and posed as if crucified — the religious right was not amused. The new paintings like won’t stir up the same level of vitriol… let’s hope they do stir up more meaningful conversation on our energy future, though.

Interview With Marc Maron on Air America

April 29th, 2009

Scottscope

Marc interviews New York artist Michael D’Antuono who unveils his controversial Obama painting on the show.

[This is a localized version of the article originally published at BlipTV.com]

Los Angeles Times – Artists cancels showing of unconventional Obama portrait

April 28th, 2009

Scottscope

[This is a localized version of the article originally published at L.A.Times.com]

A New York artist has canceled the public showing of his portrait of President Obama after receiving a barrage of angry e-mails condemning the religious nature of the work.

The Truth

“The Truth,” a painting by Michael D’Antuono, was scheduled to go on view Wednesday in Union Square in Manhattan to mark the president’s first 100 days in office.

The work depicts Obama in a crucifix pose and wearing a crown of thorns, with the presidential seal in the background.

The artist said that he intended to display the acrylic painting in a mock voting booth, with viewers lining up to see it one by one. The booth would have been located on the south side of Union Square, near the Whole Foods grocery store.

“It was supposed to provoke political dialogue,” the artist told Culture Monster on Monday. “I wanted to start a discussion. Is Obama being crucified by the right? Do people think he’s the next savior?”

D’Antuono said he has received more than 1,000 e-mails, the vast majority of which criticize the use of Christian symbolism in the painting.

“I canceled the showing out of respect for religion. It was not meant to offend so many people,” he said. “I don’t think it would be helpful to the cause of unity to show it.”

— David Ng

Photo: Image of “The Truth,” a painting by Michael D’Antuono. Courtesy of the artist.