White Artist "Arbitrarily" Paints Portraits of White Nationalists, Some of Whom Have Murdered POC



What a mean spirited ass.




Oh I think there is more of a concept than you are giving him credit for. You just prefer to not engage with his work.
The concept is an invitation into the subjective reality of humans who have committed monstrous acts. You may prefer to dismiss those humans as monsters, as beyond understanding. That precludes them ever being redeemed. That is a judgement you have made.
Many people believe it to be a useful exercise to contemplate the subjective reality of people who have committed monstrous acts so we can attempt to understand them and attempt to understand the continuum of ideation to act. Exploring the subjective reality of humans who feel themselves to be radically estranged.
Art is useful for this purpose, you should give it a try sometime.


Even if the show itself had a worthwhile concept, and assuming the goal is to sell this work, who the fuck would want a portrait of dylan roof?? The context of the exhibit doesn’t really stick with the art once it leaves the gallery; it’s just a giant portrait of an ugly terrorist with a bad haircut.

Seriously, who is the market for fine art renderings of human garbage??


@5 someone could buy it and invite the artist to observe as the new owner shit on the work and then burned it.

I say take up a gofundme.

Was it Kandinsky that exclaimed “At last it is finished?”


Bait, taken


Are they sofa sized?


The trolls on slog and this clown artist can eat a giant turd sandwich.


@5 "Seriously, who is the market for fine art renderings of human garbage??"

Hmmm… Verminazis, for one?
Highly-disturbed Wealthy* people?
The NRA?

*just say NO! to The Death Tax!


@3 si.


I wonder what his colleagues at BC Women and Children’s hospital would think of an esteemed “emergency pediatric physician” producing this? Patients (and colleagues) also often Google their doctors, so having this review attached to his name probably won’t look so great- especially to patients who are part of the 53.8% visible minority groups here in Vancouver (Statistics Canada, 2016). Troubling indeed.


Last time I looked, art didn't have to be sellable to qualify as art. There are many paintings down the years I wouldn't want to live with at all, but they are certainly art. Good art.


Oh, we've got plenty of local white supremacists who will buy a giant Dylann Roof. :( Greg Johnson and buds are probably already beating a path to his door.

If he's an interesting artist, this is a project about selling white supremacist paintings to white supremacists. Maybe it's a project where he chats them up at the sale and surreptitiously records their boner for Rooff. Maybe it's to smugly take their money and hand it to the NAACP's voting rights effort.

Or maybe it's just as slack-jawed unexamined as he tries to make it sound.


Maybe he meant to show portraits of hate. Hard to tell because he wasn't articulate in his answers. However, I don't think we should automatically assume ill intent because he is a white man. He's painting from photos of these people in the news, and not making them look more heroic or sympathetic, so he's not trying to glorify them. Yes, it's insenstive and inappropriate at this time, he clearly didn't think (or maybe doesn't care) about how POCs might feel. But I'm uncomfortable with saying artists shouldn't paint certain types of subjects because of the color of their skin; that's a slippery slope we should stay away from.


Why not a word from the colloborator on this show Li Turner? Apparently she is happy and excited to be sharing a show with this guy. Why don't we get to hear anything from her about that and about why?
For the record, I don't think this guy who painted these images is correct to have done so either so thoughtlessly or with the intention being ascribed to him (my guess is it's a mix of the two. Thanks systemic racism!) But, I do think it's important to hear from another artist who is so okay with the guy's work that she is willing to colloborate on a show with him.


So many knee-jerk reactions it’s hard to read some of these superficial comments. As an art reviewer, I’ve known this artist for 20 years and he does not have a mean bone in his body. His work is a sincere and deliberate effort to isolate and point to racial and religious conflict in our time. People might object to the timing of the exhibit, but he’s been quietly and thoughtfully developing these themes for years. Perhaps the portraits will be better understood in 50 years when they can be seen for their documentary value. It’s taken almost 30 years for people to begin to understand Richard Attila Lukac’s skinhead paintings as social commentary, and most still don’t.


I don't have any opinion about the quality of this work but I am super super cranky about the tone of this screed. This trend of the internet outrage machine spilling over into art galleries in recent years should disturb anyone who claims to be for freedom of speech. Intimidation, ignorant splenetic outrage, calls for censorship: this is all fringe right shit. Any so called liberal hopping on this band wagon, whether out of some desperate need to signal their social justice bonafides or what have you, should be embarrassed.


I think we're aiming in the wrong direction if we think going after art we don't like is going to slow down the Deplorables Crazytime Bus, but any white male artist who paints portraits of white nationalists and isn't prepared with very crisp answers to the inevitable shit storm is either breathtakingly naive or disengenuous.


As a POC, I think this work is important. When you take the subject out of the context, it actually makes them more abjectly horrible. I find it speaking truth to power.

You're fine to dislike it but disliking it and damning the artist for doing it are very different things and you're leaning too much into the second. You can't take from one hand and dig with the other. These things already exist, making paintings of them is one guy's thing - so prefer the work or don't. Getting mad at an artist making subjective work of something that would exist either way is a great way to spin your wheels and get paid by the word.


Thank God we're finally attacking the artists. They get such a free pass in this city compared to tech workers.


"There seems to be a cavernous divide between the established profitable galleries, such as the [sic] Greg Kucera (who came out in support of the show via an email, claims Haughton) and the POC/queer/community based arts spaces which prioritize social justice and the expressions of the marginalized."

Did you call Kucera to check that fact? (cf Journalism)

Also, there's a reason galleries like his are profitable: they don't beat you over the head with social justice. If I wanted to live in a haze of polemic, forget art; I'd just play recordings of Sawant, Oliver and O'Brien and listen to that all day long. But I don't. Sometimes I want to look at an artist's portrayal of flowers or the sea or a naked lady or a horse. And sometimes I want to see Sacco and Vanzetti laid out in their coffins or one of Kehinde Wiley's powerful black faces. Some AM and FM. Those one-band galleries are a drag.


The critic has written a self-applauding, up on the soap box, knee-jerk critique of this artist's show. Funny to see this from a critic who also writes in another story about Chuck Close and Seattle U: "As a staunch opponent of censorship, I took issue with the initial removal and find the rehanging to be a validation of the universities original intentions–public relations overshadowing discourse."

You can't have it both ways. You can't be against censorship and then come down so hard on David Haughton's presentation of this work and his right to do so without a denouncing statement. The paintings are their own denouncement of the figures in them and I think it's good solid painting. It both presents and transgresses this imagery the artist finds worthy of investigating. Distasteful though the figures might be, they are nonetheless a part of this country's current discourse. It is the artist's right and, often, their privilege to go where others fear to tread.

Artists also often sidestep issues of content in their work. That's their prerogative. The color of his skin shouldn't preclude him from using this imagery. Haughton and Gallery 110 has thoughtfully responded to critics of this work despite his initial lack of didactic eloquence. Good for him. But no artist needs to have a manifesto every time they make a body of work. Look at images by Gary Winogrand, Diane Arbus, George Grosz and recently Sue Coe, Kara Walker, David Wojnarovicz, Leon Golub, Andres Serrano, Eric Fischl, and very recently Childish Gambino. They all have worked with images that may disturb some and they were sometimes pilloried for having done so. But history bears them out. This is the imagery and content we need to pay attention to right now in America. This is America.


We ask privileged people to do the work within their groups. He's trying to do his part by acknowledging and exploring the criminal/murderous element within his group using art. He is doing the shit work that needs to be done. I hope he takes the feedback he's receiving seriously and not personally, because he really does need to develop a stronger statement. It would better serve his work and his audience wouldn't be left guessing if he's glorifying these guys.


Oh please! I am so tired of censors and racists - which in this case i am defining as those who use a person's whiteness as a criticism of an individual's right to engage in discourse without being hit over the head with his obvious color as a criticism and mode of discrediting him. I don't know the art but respect the artist's right to make it. And I am a tad bemused at the responses, which in part, by being evocative, renders it more valuable as is common to good art. One must not be required to pass muster with the thought police, or to have an articulate answer to their work. Critics can trash it if they wish, but they must not destroy it - though the Muslim fundamentalists did this in Afghanistan and other groups have done this over time, to the loss of the world.

In our own city the excellent ceramic artist Charles Kraaft had his work taken off display in museums when his neo-nazi affiliation came out. As a Jew, I have very mixed feelings about this but lean against this act. Years ago I was in Brooklyn during the infamous show with "Piss Christ" on display by Andrew Serrano. Many including then mayor Rudy Giuliani were vocally enraged, thus ensuring the show's success.

Consider watching this video by Jon Haidt at Duke on the way in which we are censoring rather than engaging in open conversation in the university environment:

The tone of the article fits right in.


critique of art written by art critic being called “censorship” by critic’s critics

the internet never disappoints


@27 I don't know, would you call a reactionary and thinly veiled racist paroxysm of outrage about athletes kneeling for the national anthem a 'critique'. Because this is just about the equivalent, except coming from the other end of the political spectrum.


@28 if people are just expressing their distaste for the protest or questioning their motives then it's a critique and analogous

if people are saying players should be fired or punished then it could be considered a call for censorship esp if it's coming from the president - this is not analogous



There is no way to paint such work without it being highly politicized and conveying a privileged and aggressive message.”
Up to politicized, agree. Privileged and aggressive is a projection by the reviewer.
“severe fear and trauma, not experienced by the "angry white man" but rather, their victims”
The reviewer is again projecting her reactions on the works. The portraits are ‘mug shots’ – the perpetrators are in custody. Think about that – they will answer for their crimes. The works composed of groups of angry white men are just that – impotent portraits of ineffectual rage


It is obvious to anyone who views this exhibit along with quotations included that the content is not arbitrary, though the particular images may be.
Moral outrage and righteous indignation are potent and addictive emotions. This work depicts these emotions. It need not provoke them.
I value art that stimulates introspection and dialogue. From my perspective this particular show has done that for me and is fine art.