As we detailed two weeks ago, Mitt Romney made it clear in a recent interview with Fortune magazine that funding the arts is not his priority. Obama and his team haven’t exactly responded with a resounding defense or promotion of the arts (Will Brand speculates on why over at the L Magazine), but last night the Obama camp did at least show that it’s got a little bit of art history under its belt.
For those haven’t been watching the Republican National Convention, the surprise guest yesterday was Clint Eastwood. The actor and director spent most of his speech talking to and arguing with an invisible Obama in an empty chair (you can watch the full thing here). Asked by Politico for a comment on the bizarre speech, Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt responded with a short email:
Referring all questions on this to Salvador Dali.
Get it? Dalí was a surrealist! The speech was surreal! It’s quite clever, actually. And Politico nicely points out that the Dalí Museum is in St. Petersburg, Florida, not that far away from the convention in Tampa.
But our favorite comment on the speech has to be a tweet from LA Times art critic Christopher Knight, who quipped:
Clint Eastwood is the new Marina Abramović.
— Christopher Knight (@KnightLAT) August 31, 2012
And then blogger and artist Greg Allen quickly connected the two:
The Artist Is President. RT @KnightLAT Clint Eastwood is the new Marina Abramović.
— gregorg (@gregorg) August 31, 2012
The only difference, of course, being that Abramović at least had people sitting in her empty chair — though it’s worth mentioning that Marina’s chair and the one that Clint Eastwood created for an “invisible Obama” both have joke Twitter feeds.
While we’re talking politics, now might be a good time to point out that Dinesh D’Souza’s right-wing “exposé” documentary about the president, 2016: Obama’s America, has been doing incredibly well in theaters. The movie has made more than $9 million since its release on July 13; in the words of the New York Times: “As documentaries go, that makes it a hit.”
The Times adds that the film is now this year’s third-ranked documentary, after Katy Perry: Part of Me and a Disney movie called Chimpanzee. There’s got to be some cultural meaning in that … we just haven’t figured out what it is yet.
We just spotted this tweet in response to our post and can’t believe we didn’t see the connection! R. Mutt = R[omney]. Mitt!?!?!
— George Wallace (@foolintheforest) August 31, 2012
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