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Pop Culture is Finding its Way into Presidential Portraiture

Art and history lovers should be very excited for the new portraits of former President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama. The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery has bestowed these important commissions upon Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. Wiley will paint the former president, and his style of portraiture will give us keen insight into how Obama wishes to frame his legacy. According to the Wall Street Journal: Mr. Wiley often depicts his subjects wearing hip-hop attire like hoodies and baggy, blue jeans and arranges them in postures once reserved for European aristocrats—a juxtaposition that helps the artist explore potent issues of...

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Why No Erasing of Blaine’s Name Too?

Activists across the country have been protesting venerable names inscribed on college buildings, as well as the identities of old soldiers on sculpted horseback in village squares, and even the olden name of a lake in Minneapolis, as they view those names and identities as unacceptable symbols and reminders of America’s often ugly racial history.  Think, for example, of South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun, a 19th Century slavery proponent whose name has not only been condemned, but erased from places such as the largest lake in a beautiful chain of them, as witness the newly named Mde Maka Ska. Despite their...

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Is Truth the First Casualty of Art?

The Walker Art Center has been in the news lately. The Walker has completely redone its sculpture garden, long a favorite haunt of families with children. But the garden's re-opening has been derailed by controversy over a sculpture called "Scaffold," created by California artist Sam Durant. The Star Tribune writes that the sculpture looks like a "wooden jungle gym," but Durant explains that "Scaffold" is meant to evoke various hangings from America's past: [T]he design is actually a composite of the gallows used in seven U.S. government-sanctioned executions, from the 1859 hanging of abolitionist John Brown to the 2006 execution of...

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UOM Names Journalism School After Hubbard TV and Radio Pioneers

Congratulations to Stanley S. Hubbard and family on being honored for their contributions to journalism by the University of Minnesota. The UOM will rebrand the "J" school the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication to recognize the family's pioneering history in broadcast news, technical innovations in the industry and generosity. It's the first time the University of Minnesota has named a school in the College of Liberal Arts' 149 year history. Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Publisher Deborah Hopp touched on the Hubbard's remarkable achievements in a note emailed with the news release. The Hubbard family is synonymous with media innovation, from creating the first local...

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Painting of 1862 Dakota War Removed From State Capitol

Since 1923, a painting by Anton Gag titled "Attack on New Ulm" has been on display at the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul. The painting depicts an incident in the 1862 Dakota war: The painting is superb and historically accurate, but has become controversial in recent years because of its subject matter. Now, the Minnesota Historical Society has decided that it will not be returned to the Capitol upon completion of the current renovation: Gag's depiction of combating Native America warriors and white settlers has been removed from the walls of the State Capitol for the building's renovation and will not be...

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King Banaian: Let Cigars and Rum Lead the Way to Freedom for Cuba

I love when Kim Crockett calls my show, and usually it’s to amplify a point I was making.  I was a bit surprised by her calling while I was doing a segment on Pres. Obama’s policy directive on Friday that allowed, among other things, American citizens to purchase Cuban cigars and rum anywhere in the world and bring them to the U.S.  I celebrate the opening of trade with Cuba; Kim’s concern is with the means of doing so, by administrative fiat rather than by passing a law.  This is a bypass of the Constitution. The promotion of trade with Cuba...

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America Salutes Minnesota Gen. John Vessey, a ‘Soldier’s Soldier’ 

Flags will remain at half-staff across the state for the rest of August as tributes pour in following the passing of Gen. John Vessey Jr., the Minnesotan chosen by President Reagan to serve as the nation’s top military leader. From a 17 year old underage enlistee in the Minnesota National Guard to the top echelons of the Pentagon, Vessey was the country’s longest-serving active soldier with 46 years of service by the end of his active duty. The New York Times called Vessey, a four star general, a surprise choice for the Joint Chiefs’ top post who was cut from the same...

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Liberals Rely On Punctuation to Subvert the Declaration of Independence

This is one of the silliest articles I have read in a long time. Who published it? The uber-left New York Times, naturally. The Times is promoting a theory by a liberal Princeton professor that the long-standard text of the Declaration of Independence includes an extra period, and that this means--somehow--that we have never understood the document correctly. What's the difference? The "real" Declaration, without the period, is pro-government! You can't make this stuff up. A scholar is now saying that the official transcript of the document produced by the National Archives and Records Administration contains a significant error — smack...

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