Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mind-Boggling Christo-Kitsch

A painter named Jon McNaughton has created "One Nation Under God." It shows Jesus, in glory, delivering the U.S. Constitution. He is backed by a body of dead patriots, some real and some symbolic. In the foreground are good people and bad people. My kind, alas, are presented in the latter group. Look for The Professor. He is the one right in front of Satan.

McNaughton explains all this symbolism in detail. There is a wonderful rollover feature on the picture itself, explaining each one. Even the sky is explained: "Fifty stars represents the fifty states of the union. Some shine brighter than others."

I do, seriously, praise McNaughton for a competent painting with a public meaning. I like this genre - the School of Athens is one of my favorite inspirational paintings. The text, alas, has many errors, both typographical and historical. But I appreciate the effort to make an argument in painting.

Two side notes:

Shame on the heirs of Martin Luther King for forbidding McNaughton to include King's image with the other Founding Fathers. McNaughton was obliged to name his exemplary soldier "King" in honor of MLK - surely a weird symbol-bearer for a notable war critic.

There is a good satire of McNaughton's rollover text at Shortpacked.

This may truly be the most important new painting of the twenty first century. How do I know that? Because McNaughton says so in an "interview with the artist" that he has with himself.


viscorp said...

Last supper of Chicano heroes. I have not checked the spelling yet.

Gruntled said...

Thanks for the link, viscorp. I notice that Martin Luther King got included in that mural. I hope the artist doesn't get grief from the King family when they find out.

I am surprised the Che is in the Christ chair.

Rebecca said...

This is utterly disturbing. American Civil Religion has gone way, way too far, and for whatever reason, it's getting worse. God is NOT an American.

halifax said...

I must say that I am shocked and disturbed that the New York Yankees are not shown surrounding their dark lord, Satan. They have brought a great deal more pain and anguish and are responsible for much more evil than either academics or media types.

randy said...

it's really kind of a luciferian-looking jesus, tho'...the 'tree of life' symbol looks especially questionable-'snaky' one might even say. and there are no iconographical emblems of christ either; no cross, no shepard's crook, no pyx, no fish...

and where is GWB?

virginia said...

How are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., American citizens supposed to feel about this? As Rebecca said, it's appalling. God is not an American, and America is not an exclusively Christian nation.