Dan Starling Tests Fright-Wing Politics

THE DAILY PIC: Does distorting this president's face mean something special?


THE DAILY PIC (#1423): These strange Barack Obama masks are part of a portfolio of photos by an artist named Dan Starling, which I saw a while ago at the Confederation Center for the Arts in Prince Edward Island, Canada. (For obvious reasons, I’ve been saving up this Pic for today.)

Starling bought the masks at stores and online, then used a complicated process of painting and Photoshopping to arrive at the 27 images in his series. (You can read about his process, and the ideas behind his piece, by scrolling down on his Web site.)

I can’t help feeling that much more is at stake in these masks’ distorted Obamas than the fun of caricature. There seems to me to be a voodoo-doll quality to them, as though by pulling apart Obama’s face, in plastic, their owners hope to affect the real man’s flesh.

Of course, I’m a Democrat. (Worse than that: I’m a Canadian, which puts me waaaay to the left of Bernie Sanders, even.) So I take any attack on Obama very much to heart. I remember the Nixon masks that were everywhere in my youth. Did Republicans feel about them the way I do about these plastic Obamas? And does casting a black man as a ghoul or The Joker mean something different than doing the same to a white man?

I think it does.

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics
Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.

You are currently logged into this Artnet News Pro account on another device. Please log off from any other devices, and then reload this page continue. To find out if you are eligible for an Artnet News Pro group subscription, please contact [email protected]. Standard subscriptions can be purchased on the subscription page.

Log In