Yup, you read the headline right. As another gesture of conservative post-election shock and frustration, the notorious Glenn Beck dunked an Obama figurine into a jar of (fake) pee on television under the premise of "art."
Despite the departure from his daily Fox News program last year, Glenn Beck's presence is still felt in the media through his $100 million radio deal, frequently updated website, and a television show via TheBlaze.
It happened last night, with the intention of discussing and defending artists' "freedom of expression," using the example of Michael D'Antuono's The Truth painting, which angered the Christian community in its depiction of a crucified Barack Obama. The piece was originally slated for display in New York City's Union Square, but D'Antuono chose to cancel the exhibition (a decision he regrets). The painting now hangs at Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts as part of an exhibition titled, Artists on the Stump: The Road to the White House 2012, on view through December 15.
After futile attempts to flex art history knowledge and painting abilities, from discussing the censorship of "ding-a-lings" during the Renaissance to painting a thong on a Rubens painting, Beck decided to share his own work. Inspired by Andres Serrano’s photograph, Immersion (Piss Christ), he (unsuccessfully) submerged an Obama figurine in a jar of fake urine, attempting to be in solidarity with artists who have felt their First Amendment right threatened. He went so far as to call it his "yellow period" as an artist and announced that Obama in Pee Pee would be listed for $25,000 on eBay.
Since there is no logical way to understand this event (read: the actions of a sore loser craving attention by acting childish), we are choosing to see this event as an act of performance art. If Glenn Beck wants to call himself an artist, we can play along. Seeing it this way allows us to dismiss Beck's insincere support of artists who have been criticized or censored for the controversial nature of their work.
It helps to remember Clint Eastwood's shocking speech at the Republic National Convention last August, where he berated a chair meant to have an "invisible" Barack Obama sitting in it. Obama's campaign secretary, Ben LaBolt, told the press that he would be "Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dalí," to which Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight compared Eastwood to performance artist, Marina Abramović.
Glenn Beck said that, "Art is in the eye of the beholder," but this time, we're going to say it's also in the eye of the viewer, for no other reason than maybe trying to give him some credibility or any benefit of the doubt. Beck's trolling isn't making any liberal, third-party member, or non-American sympathize with his party. We don't need to tell you this, Glenn Beck, but for the second time this month, you've lost.