The Raft of GW Bush and the Role of the Artist


General Photography

Commenting on a photo by Joel Peter Witkin, which shows a reenactment of Theodore Gericault’s La Zattera della medusa with (a fake) GW Bush and others, David Schonauer writes that “WitkinÂ’s image is one-sided and ruthless in its sarcasm.” and asks “Is it fair for an artist to take on such subjects in such a way?” Jim Johnson responds by asking “Are we supposed to believe that ‘real’ or ‘true’ artists don’t have political views (or, that they at least carefully segregate any such views they might embrace the from their ‘art’)?” And indeed, it’s very hard to see why artists should be apolitical. Artists are citizens of a country, and as citizens they have the right - and some might argue the obligation - to make political statements. If some people do not agree with that political statement that’s part of the process, that’s the essence of democracy. As is the ruffling of feathers.