What passes for art in San Francisco

Last Sunday, a private San Francisco museum unveiled a new painting, billed as the world’s largest portrait mural.  The mural contains the following edifying images, all homages to the wacky City I once called home:

The colorful mural by acclaimed artist Guy Colwell features Speaker Nancy Pelosi lancing a Republican elephant; a Terminator-dressed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger patting the back of a grizzly bear; Senator Dianne Feinstein waving the California State flag; Mayor Gavin Newsom performing a same-sex marriage ceremony; former Mayor Willie Brown brandishing a freshly pressed suit; former Board of Supervisors President Angela Alioto donning angel wings outside the Porziuncola Chapel in North Beach (an endeavor Pritikin helped to promote); a singing former Supervisor Tony Hall; former Supervisor Harvey Milk waving a Castro Rainbow flag with former Mayor George Moscone by his side; actress Marilyn Monroe hugging baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio on the back of a giraffe; San Francisco Chronicle scribe Herb Caen; actress Carol Channing; Emperor Norton; Jerry Garcia; topless stripper Carol Doda; Willie Mayes and Mark Twain, as well as the Zodiac killer, Jim Jones and Huey Newton – all set against an iconic San Francisco skyline.  (Emphasis mine.)

Color me oh-so-naive about the sophisticated art world, but I think a painting that celebrates a City’s heritage by showing a politician brutally, albeit metaphorically, killing her duly elected opponents in a democratic two-party system, and that highlights a serial killer, a mass murderer, and a murderous thug, just lacks the eternal charm that you’d find in, say, a Da Vinci, Van Eyck, or Rembrandt.

Perhaps, though, the painting is just a part of a greater whole, as the museum boasts these other gems, as well:

The mansion also features a few shockers including an Adolf Hitler gallery containing the Fuhrer’s personal world globe and his Swastika armband acquired by two American soldiers at the end of World War II. The authenticated items “are a chilling reminder of the horrendous crimes committed by the most heinous of history’s despots,” Pritikin remarked. The Hitler gallery appropriately displays a large disclaimer that reads: “May the bastard rot in hell.”

In another room, perhaps the most shocking of all, is a working electric chair, complete with a death-row inmate dummy that sizzles and shakes at the flip of the executioner’s switch.

Considering the art world’s Leftism, it can’t be a coincidence that, despite the worst recession in decades, art agencies just got their highest funding in 16 years.   After all, if you were on the Left, wouldn’t you want to fund people like the Chief of the National Endowment for the Arts, who is not only someone whose paycheck has a lot to do with American taxpayers, but who also is a man who thinks Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar.   (I’m not a sufficiently good parodist to take on that one, although others, fortunately, are.)

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  • expat

    Iowahawk has a great post on Caesar and Obama.

  • SJBill

    Doesn’t Pritikin look like a reincarnation of Percy Dovetonsils?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    And I’m sure they want to help Obama cross his Rubicon as well.

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    Interesting that the article showed up in the Fog City Journal.
    Since I have not been to SF, I am assuming that the name refers to weather and since I have read quite enough about SF, it’s also a state of mind.
    Art is subjective to the eye, but bad taste is never subjective. It’s always bad taste.