Trump hangs fantasy painting with other GOP presidents at White House
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A fantasy painting depicting US President Donald Trump socializing with the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan caused an uproar on social media when it was revealed over the weekend to be hanging at the White House.
The painting could be seen hanging in the background during Trump's interview with the CBS news programme "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday.
In "The Republican Club", a painting by Andy Thomas, a brawny Trump in his trademark red tie smiles broadly as he is joined at a bar by a bevy of former GOP presidents, including both George Bushes and Richard M. Nixon.
Trump had this horrific piece commissioned. It’s a fantasy painting of GOP presidents hanging out with him. I feel it’s in need of a caption. Internet, do your thing. pic.twitter.com/4yjdkC2wOtGeorge Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 15, 2018
The whole group is chatting around a table and seems to be having a good time sharing drinks – Trump, who does not drink alcohol, appears to be having an iced cola in a beer mug – while Calvin Coolidge hovers in the background a short distance away.
Theodore Roosevelt has a foot propped up on a chair as he leans in intently, hand on one knee. Gerald Ford leans against a pillar. Reagan and Nixon trade glances while Eisenhower leans in next to Trump.
Bucked by art world
The fantasy scene was mercilessly mocked on social media.
"Neither Lincoln nor Teddy would be caught dead at this table," wrote one Twitter user.
"Like, you could borrow stuff from the Smithsonian or the National Gallery of Art but, nope, you're gonna decorate the White House with crap from the Things Remembered kiosk at the mall," wrote journalist Benjamin Freed in another comment.
Your periodic reminder that there are aesthetic dimensions to political competition, and that representational kitsch is the Republican brand in the visual arts https://t.co/4myTMZGv0LPatrick Iber (@PatrickIber) October 15, 2018
The Trumps have had a strained relationship with the art world.
When they asked the Guggenheim Museum to borrow a Vincent van Gogh painting, they were instead offered a solid gold toilet by Maurizio Cattelan, a satirical, if fully functioning, sculpture entitled "America."
And William Allman, who long held the post of White House curator, retired last year and has yet to be replaced.
Thomas, who specialises in figurative paintings of cowboys, also made a version of the image featuring Democratic presidents.
In both the Republican and Democratic versions, there's a vague rendering of a woman in the background, a nod to a potential first female president.
"Even in Trump's thrift store trash painting, a woman is coming to end the bullshit when they aren't paying any attention," read a comment by Twitter user Emily Colucci.
The painting Trump has hanging in the White House is exactly the kind of painting Alan Partridge would have if he was president. pic.twitter.com/E4lkd8I1NpNick Pettigrew (@Nick_Pettigrew) October 15, 2018
Others digitally altered images of other protagonists – like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump supporter and rapper Kanye West or Russian President Vladimir Putin – onto some of the other presidents' heads.
Thomas said Trump gave him positive feedback about the painting.
"He basically said, 'Most portraits of me I really don't like,'" Thomas told Time magazine.
"And he's right. He's hard to paint. There's some bad ones out there."
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)