The taxpayer-funded Minnesota State Arts Board shelled out $10,000 to a local artist who used the money to paint a seven-foot-tall picture of President Donald Trump groping Lady Justice.
As part of the Minnesota State Arts Board FY 2018 grants program, Shafer artist Jim Denomie created a series “of large paintings in response to Standing Rock and other contemporary events from a Native American perspective.”
Minnesota Public Radio recently sat down with Denomie for an interview to discuss his completed series of paintings, which includes a more than seven-foot-tall painting called “Standing Rock 2016.” In that picture, Trump is seen groping a topless Lady Justice while four men in suits stand watching.
“I’ve learned over my experience making paintings especially about important events that I receive information from the spirit world,” Denomie told MPR. “It comes to me from somewhere, I don’t know exactly where—but I often come away from these paintings with a better understanding of the story of the events.”
His paintings are currently on display at the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, which says of Denomie’s paintings:
“With this body of work, Denomie has cast his discriminating eye onto real-world events, specifically the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy and protest that erupted in August 2016, near the North Dakota Standing Rock Indian Reservation.”
Robert Cozzolino of the Minneapolis Institute of Art told MPR that he believes Denomie is “doing some of the most amazing narrative paintings that anybody’s doing in the United States right now.”
“Jim is a storyteller and he is interested in looking at the politics and social developments in cultural movements of today and always thinking about how they aren’t just springing out of nowhere but have the weight of history behind them,” he said.
But Center of the American Experiment President John Hinderaker had a different take.
“The real question, of course, is why Minnesota’s taxpayers should be forced to support left-wing artists,” he recently wrote. “If Mr. Denomie wants to create propaganda in the form of a painting, fine. If some leftist wants to buy it from him, fine. That is none of our business. But when our state government forces all of us to pay for this travesty, it becomes our affair.”
– – –
Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Standing Rock Paintings” by Jim Denomie/Bockley Gallery.