Art is a provocative medium. It always has been, and hopefully it always will be.
So when MoveOn.org recently held a contest called Bush in 30 Seconds, which asked for submissions from the public, there was quite a stir caused by two pieces that compared Adolf Hitler to George W. Bush.
I won’t voice my opinion on either of those guys, but needless to say, this is nothing new in the art world. I’ve seen such depictions of political leaders as [insert something icky here] since the days of Reagan, and I’m sure things go back further, but since my memory doesn’t, that’s all I can speak of. I did do a project in school that looked at how collage art was used as a weapon against propoganda during World War II though, so I’m sure this goes back a long way.
There’s always been subversive and underground art, but it’s pretty much been, well… underground. The internet tends to change those things. If you want it to. I’m fairly sure the folks at MoveOn.org knew what they were doing when they choose the finalists, and put the on the web. It’s called publicity.