Art can provoke a number of different emotions in people from joy to misery and everything in between. For Minnesota State Representative, Josh Heintzeman, Jim Denomie’s Standing Rock 2016, provokes rage.
Denomie’s piece references the Standing Rock Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and features politicians and lawmakers. Particularly offensive to Heintzeman, is the depiction of Donald Trump groping Lady Justice’s crotch.
Heintzeman is also upset that the painting was funded with a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. The State Representative wrote on his Facebook page, “There’s a number of very controversial depictions but President Trump’s is especially offencive [sic]. “If ‘artists’ create this kind of thing on their own time fine, but not on my dime.”
The post was widely supported by Heintzeman’s followers. There was no mention of the president’s infamous Access Hollywood tape that informed the painting.
Heintzeman did face push back from another Republican State Representative, Carrie Ruud. Ruud wrote, “This project met all specifications set forth by the constitution and the Arts Board.”
She noted that art sometimes offends in the name of free speech. Heintzeman responded, “With all due respect, this isn’t about censorship. This is about Minnesota taxpayer money, $10,000, being used for a repulsive depiction of our President.”
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology and spending time at the shore with his family.