Obama Painting Heats Controversy: Free Speech, Offensive or Both?

Painting is an art form that often allows the artist to present an opinion. The latest work by artist Jon McNaughton does just that, portraying President Barack Obama burning the constitution in “One Nation Under Socialism” which has drawn its far share of detractors. McNaughton describes the new painting on his Facebook page:

“’I pledge allegiance to the United States of America,
And not to an ideology, which can never stand,
One nation under socialism, divisive,
With no liberty or justice for anyone.’

This November, you will make a choice. Will you choose One Nation Under Socialism?”

The painting has already drawn over 700 shares and over 1,200 comments.

“I think what you are doing is bold and should be seen/heard by all Americans!!!” writes commenter Tamara Thomas. “Dead-on! A picture that says what our mainstream media will not,” says Vincent Brusio.

But not every commenter was a fan.

“I would love to see a painting like this of Romney and his Bain Capital Wall Street cronies laughing and stuffing money in their mouths as they rip off all the gullible right-wing dupes who think SOCIALISM for the rich fat cats who looted our country (not to mention the world economy is perfectly fine,” writes John Wages. “Grow up,” Billy Bey says simply.

New York Magazine Art Critic Jerry Saltz told CBSDC that the painting contained “bad academic derivative realism,” calling it “typical propaganda art, drop-dead obvious in message” and “visually dead as a doornail.”

“It panders and preaches to the converted and tells them what they already believe,” Saltz told CBSDC. “It has no graphic power of its own. It simply attempts to crawl into the body of that sort of illustration.”

McNaughton told CBSDC that he hopes his painting will get the “public talking about what the painting represents. Is Obama pushing a Socialist agenda on the American people?”

McNaughton further explained his painting in a video on Youtube:

McNaughton has previously painted the president stomping on the Constitution and a similar pledge painting illustrating one nation under God.

What do you think of McNaughton’s painting? Free speech at its best (and no different than previous attacks from the other side) or offensive?