Clara ThorsonA02296709Capstone PaperUSU 1330Art is frequently used in politics to promote partisan viewpoints, as well as to make satirical comments on the political climate. In American politics particularly, the political scene is already so extremely polarized between left and right wing thinking; art often serves as the stake that drives that division even deeper. I wish to focus on how visual art both illustrates and influences politics, and have selected one particular piece as an example. Shepard Fairey takes on a cynical viewpoint of the American party system in his mixed-media piece entitled, “These Parties Disgust Me”1. Fairey’s piece involves stencil and mixed media collage on canvas. The black and white stencil hails back to Fairey’s history of street art, while the sophisticated patina background adds a layer of complexity. The collage builds up pattern using subtle yet passionate colors, building abase of rich red. The painted stencil is done in black and white only, which adds to the drama andcontrast of the piece. Fairey achieves a timeless yet applicably powerful work by his use of pattern and color. The focal point of “These Parties Disgust Me” is a tall woman with a glass of wine. The woman is dressed in a striped dress and wears a military-style hat with a star on it. She also wears a large chain necklace, and a ring on her wedding finger. The style that the figure is done 1 Shepard Fairey. (2010). These Parties Disgust Me. Retrieved from -org.dist.lib.usu.edu/asset/AWSS35953_35953_35391634
in is reminiscent of classic American propaganda, echoing themes that have been used in campaign posters and other pieces of patriotic art in which forms and shadows are simplified anda monochromatic color scheme is used. The woman’s facial expression is also noteworthy, a lookof both arrogance and repugnance. All aspects of the painting hint at a root in Americanism, while the overall message of the piece is arguably un-patriotic.Politics take a special seat in the arena of everyday American life. One reason for this is because the political system is so starkly polarized between two main parties. The relationship between Liberals and Conservatives has morphed from mutualistic and compromising to completely antagonistic and warring throughout American history, with the latter more often catching the public’s eye. Policies that affect citizens every day now have become harped upon as raw politically-charged topics, creating a harshly polarized country. Even patriotism has become a source of partisan pride. If you see a truck driving down the highway with an American flag waving out the back, you will have little doubt who they voted for. In this politicalclimate, every move is looked upon as having partisan motivations, raising the worry that too many Americans are placing party above country.