Critiquing George Zimmerman's $100,000 Painting
The art world is abuzz today about the price of George Zimmerman's debut painting, "Untitled (One Nation Under God)" reaching nearly $100,000 at renowned auction house eBay. Zimmerman's monstrous debut only adds to the growing importance of the Conservative Renaissance Art movement, which already includes promising young talents such as George W. Bush and Jon McNaughton, a Utah artist celebrated for his various works depicting President Obama defacing the Constitution.
But what does Zimmerman's painting mean?
First, we must examine the materials.
"As far as I know, it is regular household latex paint. I know it's not the fanciest, but it is what we had, and I needed to put these visions onto the blank canvas as soon as possible," Zimmerman wrote in response to a potential buyer's query.
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His choice of materials can only be read as a bold and fearless rebuke of the elitism of the art world. He doesn't traffic in elitist, fancy-pants paints like oil or acrylic. Zimmerman is just a regular guy using regular household paint in an attempt to communicate his vision to regular Americans. It intriguingly asks the question, "If it's good enough for a summer camp arts-and-crafts class, why can't it be good for the art world?" Why not, indeed.
The eye, of course, is immediately drawn to the text. They are familiar words selected from the Pledge of Allegiance, but Zimmerman has rearranged the text. "God" comes first, with "one nation" underneath it. Clever, if not breathtakingly innovative.
While previous studies of the American icon -- such as Childe Hassam's The Avenue in the Rain, and Jasper Johns' Three Flags -- concentrate on the iconic red, white and blue, Zimmerman here chooses to represent the flag in monochromatic shades of blue, a color associated with melancholy and depression. It might be easy to assume Zimmerman is making a serious critique of the state of our nation, but perhaps it runs deeper than that.
The American flag as we know it is a bright display of strongly contrasting colors, but perhaps Zimmerman is suggesting that America is stronger when it is made up of various shades of the same basic color.
That theme would dovetail strongly with the message of his previous performance art. You know, that time he killed an unarmed black teenager and got off after claiming self-defense. Oh, God, and now someone out there is apparently willing to pay $100,00 for his new little hobby. If anything, this work's strongest message, unintentional of course, is just how horrible this world is. Good Lord.
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