html> Clinton Fein: Random: Updates: November 2004


  Rest in Piece

Rest in Piece, 2004
Coverage and Closure    

Sum Up

Well friends, the gruelling exhibition run is almost over and it has been quite a ride. Pulling off two distinct exhibitions back to back was a tad stressful, and the idea, moving forward, is to spread them out more evenly. Nonetheless it's been a great experience. The response has been overwhelmingly positive although the funny thing is that when you live with what you've created for so long, you become immune to its impact on others. So the strength of the adjectives used to describe my work were quite fascinating to me. (See the sampling below) The funny thing is that a few that are still somewhat shocking to me were not even mentioned. Perhaps they are just unspeakable.

On the morning of the election, I woke up to see an enormous, above-the-fold photograph of myself staring back from the front page of the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle, accompanied by a lengthy review by art critic Kenneth Baker. Another image of Arnold Schwarzenegger and George W. Bush was dwarfed by me, standing behind "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" -- the most unpleasant image in my show. The image is a "grid of photographs from various sources documenting Iraqi war casualties. Each image represents 1, 000 victims, according to credible independent estimates of the Iraq war's human cost to those it was meant to liberate." The reason I sought and downloaded these images from all over the Internet (Al Jazeera to unknown IP addresses) was to attempt to show what the media was not showing. That the photos ultimately appeared in a mainstream publication the day of the election was an amazing realization of the work's intention, and a moment for which I am very grateful. Of course, America didn't seem to care about dead, bombed, maimed, limbless Iraqi children that day, but then again he was given the green-light by his opponent so who knows? Did it make a difference to even just one person before they went to the ballot? I guess I'll never know.

They say it's not over until the differently-weighted womyn sings, but there is still some pretty strong momentum that is happening from these shows, including further exhibitions, inclusion in a book by a very renowned art historian and other such things that I will share as they become more solidified. In the meanwhile, the show is still running until November 13th and included is a special fundraising event this Thursday (tonight) evening for The First Amendment Project (see below). If you haven't had a chance to see the show yet, and you're in the vicinity, do try and come. I've been told it's worth the visit and we sure as hell are going to need the First Amendment for the next four years!

Numb & Number Exhibition at Toomey Tourell Gallery.

  Clinton Fein, San Francisco Chronicle
Clinton Fein by Lea Suzuki
San Francisco Chronicle

Media Samplings

This South African provocateur's vitriolic, darkly comic digital montages attack President Bush, his cabinet and his Iraq policies (The New York Times) ... The printing service, called Zazzle, informed artist Clinton Fein on Monday that it would not release two of six images for "Numb & Number," an exhibit of Fein's deliberately provocative political art (San Jose Mercury News) ... Bad-boy political artist Clinton Fein expects trouble and regularly gets it (The San Francisco Chronicle) The company made its decision after determining the prints violated the site's user agreement on the grounds of being both offensive to religious believers--in this case Christians--and excessively violent (C|NET) .. excessive violence as well as derogatory references to religion (Los Angeles Times) ... Clinton Fein's scalding "Numb & Number" show at the Toomey Tourell Gallery features grim photographs of the war dead and wounded in Iraq ... a depiction of Bush as a crucified Christ with a warhead sprouting from his loincloth and a lettered screed on one work about a "crude, pathetic, ugly thief who is propped up by his Daddy's oil interests." The leader of the free world, as Fein reviles him with unchecked, ad hominem poison, is in "a Jimmy Beam-induced, unfortunately non-fatal, pretzel-choking, 'with us or against us' paradigm. (The San Francisco Chronicle) ... Among the rattling images in Fein's "Numb & Number" show is one of Cheney and Dianne Feinstein's faces melded together and another of bin Laden as the Statue of Liberty holding Bush's severed head aloft. (The San Francisco Chronicle) ... A current show by another artist-activist, Clinton Fein, called "Numb and Number" at the Toomey-Tourell gallery in San Francisco features digital montages that take off viciously against the current administration. (San Jose Mercury News) ... No Mister Nice Guy art at Toomey Tourell, just pure blunt force trauma. Clinton Fein's imagery may go as far beyond the line as any in expressing sentiments about the current world situation, and about the United States, the War in Iraq, and the Bush administration in particular. If you want to see complete and total venom conveyed through art, see "Numb and Number" and visit Fein's seditious brainchild, This is the type of stuff that buckets you a first class trip to oblivion in many parts of the world, but not here in America, The Land of the Free ( ... Clinton Fein expresses outright scorn at the Bush Administration ... His show, entitled "Numb & Number," is the most potent political art of the year (The Berkeley Camera Club) ... California artist Clinton Fein is used to getting flak for his blatantly political and often shocking artworks ... ultra-provocative content ( ... Home to geek wizards who invented high-resolution imaging technologies that have revolutionized the art scene - home to a digital printing company that has, alas, in this season of partisan fervor, censored two politically-charged art works: that's Silicon Valley! ... why is it censorship if a private business decides not to do business with an artist? Are we not allowed to run our business the way we want to, to work with whom we want to? Or, was this a ploy by Fein to get some publicity for his show ... which was launching that same week? (Silicon Valley Watcher) His art is not subtle. It can be hard to take. But Clinton Fein is not afraid to make a statement ... Many viewers must wonder whether such low-blow assaults have caused Fein to disown any of his past work... One of the least scabrous but hardest to take pieces in his show lays the words "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" over a grid of photographs from various sources documenting Iraqi war casualties... A lot of Clinton Fein's political art looks facile, even puerile, to those who see only its inflammatory side, not that he really cares. (The San Francisco Chronicle) ... What's Fein's sin? Politically confrontational art that aggressively makes use of emotionally charged imagery (Surface magazine)

Select Media Coverage/Reviews

His art is not subtle. It can be hard to take. But Clinton Fein is not afraid to make a statement.
By Kenneth Baker, The San Francisco Chronicle
November 2, 2004

Using the Canvas to Canvass
By Jack Fischer, The San Jose Mercury News
October 31, 2004

As Nov. 2 nears, artists get in their last licks, sending up Bush and company on center stage
By Steve Winn, The San Francisco Chronicle
October 20, 2004

Political artist loses printer over images
By Louise Roug, The Los Angeles Times
October 16, 2004

2 of Clinton Fein's political works run afoul of his printer's policies
By Kenneth Baker, The San Francisco Chronicle
October 12, 2004

First Thursday Art Openings; San Francisco
By Alan Bamberger,
October 7, 2004

Print shop refuses to release political images
By Jack Fischer, The San Jose Mercury News
October 6, 2004 Webmaster says war art censored
Paul Festa, C|NET
October 6, 2004

  Some Called It Treason, 2004
Some Called It Treason, 2004
(Detail) Updates  

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Popsicle Pathology

My editorial about the election season and Arnold and Maria elicited the usual fury of those who think Schwarzenegger deserves to be governor or that Maria is cut from the same cloth as Jackie O. To live up to my poisonous, vitriolic, venomous reputation, I described our esteemed governor as thus:

While pissing off an overly-sensitive, politically-correct gay constituency can indeed be fun, a Liberace-bejeweled, steroid-pumped, make-up plied, former-gym queen whose plastic tits are about to succumb to gravity along with his sagging ass, reeks of self-doubt, and would be laughable was it not so contrived and obsequious. The ever-witty "I'll be back," might have worked well in The Terminator, but bitchy barbs uttered from a beefed up version of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner (with his colored hair and over-plucked eyebrows) borders on pathetic.
Alas, there's a lot more than just one poor idiot clutching his measly "marriage credit" tax deduction to spend on Bill O'Reilly's book on how to teach kids morality to his unfortunate children who, alas again, don't stand a hope in hell.

Click on only if you're thin >

Popsicle Pathology, 2004
Popsicle Pathology, 2004


Guess Who's Back?

And then of course, there was Eminem. Yes, his new anti-Bush video Mosh is great (thanks to Ian Inaba) but what to make of the demented attack on Michael Jackson in "Lose It," who despite having a few issues, was the one who spearheaded all the moves that Eminem has profited from. Remember the Crystal and Alexis wrestling matches back in the days of Dynasty? Remember the bitchy, salacious articles about "Wacko Jacko" in Vanity Fair and the Rupert Murdoch slime machine?

Now everyone report to the dancefloor >


Clinton Fein
Guess Who's Back, 2004

Jesus Juice and Falafels

"I'd be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples really hard, kinda kissing your neck from behind... and then I would take the other hand with the falafel thing and I'd put it on your pussy but you'd have to do it really light, just kind of a tease business....," said Bill O'Reilly to a Fox producer as he jacked off on the phone according to court records filed in a harassment suit by said producer. Remember how the sanctimonious Mr. O'Reilly berated Michael Jackson and how News Corp. abused and accused without a trial? "Wacko Jacko" screeched the vile, odiferous Andrea Peysers at the New York Post. Well wallow in the shit you stink of, Mr. O'Reilly and Rupert Murdoch, and bask in the permanence of your new associations, for you have irreparably damaged the reputation of a delicious Middle Eastern delicacy!

Rub Before You Scrub >


Jesus Juice and Falafels, 2004.

First Amendment Project Fundraiser

Toomey Tourell and the First Amendment Project Present

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Toomey Tourell Gallery
49 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
5.30 - 7.30 PM

The First Amendment Project (FAP) and Toomey Tourell Gallery are pleased to welcome you to a fundraiser in conjunction with their current exhibition, artist Clinton Fein's Numb & Number. The controversial exhibition includes two of the images destroyed by a Palo Alto-based printing service prior to the opening of the exhibit, citing "unacceptable content standards." The exhibit deals with current events and the horrors and anguish of war as depicted in the graphic, editorialized images of Clinton Fein.

Please join First Amendment Project's Executive Director, David Greene, Clinton Fein, Stephen Tourell and Nancy Toomey for a toast-raising and fundraiser to benefit the First Amendment Project.

15% of art sales will be donated to The First Amendment Project.

The First Amendment Project is a nonprofit, civil liberties organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition. For nearly ten years, FAP has provided advice, educational materials, and legal representation to its core constituency of activists, journalists, and artists in service of these fundamental liberties. Through its Artistic Freedom Initiative, FAP promotes civil discourse by connecting artists who create political or controversial art with Bay Area audiences.

For more information on the show, please click here, or to to find out more about The First Amendment Project, please click here.

Stephen Tourell
Nancy Toomey



Phone: 415. 989 6444
Fax: 415. 989 6446

Fashion Police, Welcome to New York Series, 2004
Fashion Police, Welcome to New York Series, 2004 (Detail)