The 50 Most Political Art Pieces of the Past 15 Years

38. Portraits of John McCain by Jill Greenberg, 2008

While on assignment for Atlantic, photographer Jill Greenberg decided to play with political fire. She was asked to photograph then presidential candidate John McCain for the cover of Atlantic, which she agreed to do. The photographs for the cover shot were taken without much fuss or difficulty; however, it was what came after the official shoot that inspired controversy. As the story goes, Greenberg finished the photographs needed for the cover then "lured" McCain over for another set, which was purposefully lit to be unflattering. But the plot thickens: Greenberg then took these additional images back to her studio and altered them further with Photoshop. Some of the images were lightly retouched. Others featured McCain with a monstrous and bloodied mouth or a chimpanzee defecating on his head. Greenberg makes her opinions of the politician known with text such as, "I AM A BLOODTHIRSTY WARMONGERER" and "IT WAS REALLY FUN TO CHEAT ON MY CAR-INJURY-DISABLED FIRST WIFE" plastered above McCain's head. Work similar to these portraits were featured Greenberg's video work, Entitled, in Katherine Cone Gallery's exhibition Legitimate Rape: Political Art in 2012.

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