Can You See It? People Claim Obama’s Portrait Has Something Nasty On His Forehead

Written by K. Walker on February 14, 2018

Is it possible that the Obama Presidential portrait is even worse when you see it up close?

Some people think it is.

The Obama portrait is massive and quite detailed. One of those details is melting the internet…

But first, a quick overview of the portraits by Doug — from his perspective as a Fine Arts Major:

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Here is the portrait of Barry:

So, what’s the big hullabaloo besides that he’s sitting there while a garden overtakes him?

Well, it has to do with the other works by artist Kehinde Wiley.

And we don’t mean the beheading of whites by blacks.

Wiley has been praised in the art world for ‘reimagining’ famous pieces and inserting black subjects in place of the non-black subjects. There’s another aspect to his art, though…

From a blog that examines art, music, and more from a ‘contemporary urban beatnik’ perspective Mrs. Sawyer’s Opus:

In the majority of the critiques of his work, nowhere is it discussed the blatant sexual and homoerotic overtones of Wiley’s images.  Looking at this work in books or on the internet is one thing, but in person, it’s so obvious!

…Let’s be frank.  These men are gay!  Their poses are feminine.  They have arched eye brows and shinny lips.  These are “homothugs”, a term used to describe males, usually minorities, who adopt hip hop culture, style of dress, music etc. as a more idealized form of masculinity, to counter other stereotypes on gay culture.

*Insert Obama Joke Here*

The blog continues to compare the image of BonAparte Crossing the Alps by Jacques Louis-David to Wiley’s reinterpretation.

Here is Wiley’s painting:

To the naked eye this simply a reimaging of David’s image with a black man. The main difference is the main character and the decorative wall paper background.  What isn’t as obvious are the dozens of little sperm cells that float around the canvas helping to make up the decorative almost Rococo-esque background.

Source: Mrs. Sawyers Opus

Here is the close up:

The frame has the same kind of imagery:

And it’s not just the one blog that says that. Jessica Dawson of the Village Voice calls Wiley’s art ‘pervy’ and that the above reimagining of the Napoleon painting should be subtitled, ‘(Through a Light Ejaculate Mist).’

It’s not the only painting Wiley has done this with. This one is called Saint Andrew:

Aaand here’s the closeup:

What does this have to do with the Obama Presidential portrait?


Barry chose this artist and, presumably was familiar with his work.

*Insert Another Obama Joke Here*

Some are saying that the vein on Barry’s head is Wiley’s way of continuing his obsession of including sperm in his paintings.

Others are dismissing the notion because Barry really does have a vein on the side of his head as can be seen here, though it is much less pronounced:

So, what do you think?

Did this openly gay artist slip a little swimmer onto Barry’s head in the Presidential portrait?

Here’s a poll question you could never have imagined:

In the Dawson piece, she even mentions Wiley’s ‘predatory behavior’ with his subjects.

She likens it to a ‘casting couch’ which brings up Weinsteinian imagery these days.

And then there is Wiley’s casting-couch method. In the early 2000s, after he graduated from Yale, Wiley did a residency at the Studio Museum and began inviting men he met on the streets into his studio to pose. “When I’m approaching these guys, there’s a presupposed engagement,” Wiley said in the 2008 Art Newspaper interview. “I don’t ask people what their sexualities are, but there’s a sense in which male beauty is being negotiated.”

Once in the studio, Wiley presents his model with art-history books and asks him to choose which painting he’d like to be in. Straining to legitimize this method, Brooklyn Museum curator Eugenie Tsai lauds the artist in the exhibition catalog for “the subject’s active participation” in a “collaborative encounter…co-produced by the subject and the artist.”

What Wiley and his subjects do behind the scenes may be none of our business, but his paintings kiss and tell. Saint Andrew grinds his crotch against a wooden cross, and in case we don’t quite get it, Wiley has painted free-floating spermatozoa across the canvas. The same goes for the bear of a fellow in Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps, which could be subtitled “(Through a Light Ejaculate Mist).” And if the painted tadpoles aren’t sufficiently suggestive, several of the gilded frames contain sperm reliefs of their own. (Talk about painting outside the lines.)
Source: The Village Voice

And Barry still chose this guy to paint his portrait?

I guess he doesn’t care that urban black men are being preyed upon by a celebrated gay artist. No #MeToo movement for them.

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by Doug Giles

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ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, occasional Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll


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