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Nope, That's Not Art


The most recent Hits & Misses column [“Too Liberal,” May 5, City Weekly] sounded off on artist Jon McNaughton, whose art is no longer displayed at the BYU Bookstore following complaints about one piece and McNaughton’s own decision to withdraw another. The artist might have been surprised that his uberconservative images weren’t more warmly received on the BYU campus, but City Weekly readers weren’t—one sentiment echoed through the online comments is that McNaughton’s art is just bad.

Bill McGee said, “McNaughton has redefined the meaning of bad art. I can put up with an artist with whacko political ideas, even if they creep into their work. … I am hoping that BYU pulled this because it is trash.”

 “First of all, as a painting, [“One Nation Under God”] is bad ‘art.’ … ‘If there is virtuous, lovely, of good report,’ we seek after these things,” added utahprincipal801.

According to news accounts, it wasn’t just its (un)artistic merits that got the paintings 86’ed from the bookstore, but the politically charged imagery, which required special tea-party goggles (or a visit to the author’s Website) to decode its meaning. In “One Nation Under God,” a lawyer, a Supreme Court judge, a “smug” college professor and others are depicted huddling with Satan—not exactly a celebration of higher learning.

Or, as Douglas Smith summed it up: “We are warned of things that create the feelings of hate because hate comes from a place we should not associate ourselves with. Hate is not a Christian/LDS ideal.”

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