Botero’s Abu Ghraib work exhibited in USA. But not in a museum

Botero, Abu GhraibFrom Art for a change blog in the USA; with different hyperlinks there:

A little more than a year ago, I wrote an article titled “Fernando Botero Paints Abu Ghraib.”

The piece was about what I referred to as the Columbian artist’s “masterwork, a suite of 50 large oil paintings depicting the horrors perpetrated by Americans at Iraq’s infamous Abu Ghraib prison.”

Readers of this web log are by now most likely familiar with Botero’s Abu Ghraib cycle of paintings, but now Americans, at least those in New York City, will have an opportunity to view the works for themselves.

New York’s Marlborough Gallery will present, Botero: Abu Ghraib, an exhibit to run for one month only from October 18th to November 18th, 2006.

Marlborough Gallery has represented the artist for twenty years, but none of the 45 paintings and drawings to be displayed will be for sale.

However, a beautiful exhibition catalog with text by Art in America editor, David Ebony, will be available at the gallery – or you can purchase the book online from

While it’s good news that Botero’s Abu Ghraib paintings are to be exhibited in the U.S., there is an ominous side to the story.

Despite the critical acclaim the works have received, and regardless of their being exhibited in 2005 at Italy’s Palazzo Venezia, Germany’s Wurth Museum, and plans to show them in 2007 at Italy’s Palazzo Reale in Milan and at IVAM in Valencia, Spain, come 2008 – not a single American museum has come forward with an offer to exhibit the paintings.

So much for the “liberal” U.S. arts establishment.

The Art Newspaper of London, quotes Botero as saying an exhibition of his Abu Ghraib paintings was “proposed to many museums in the U.S., but after six months there was no interest.”

Botero asked Arts Services International, the group that organized the artist’s North American traveling retrospective due to begin in January, 2007, to help find a museum willing to exhibit the controversial works – but ASI also came up empty handed.

Only then did Marlborough courageously step in to offer Botero their gallery as a venue – and hurrah for them!

With the U.S. Congress voting to legalize the Bush administration’s policies of torture and indefinite detention without charges or trial, Botero’s artworks are more significant than ever.

That American museums are unwilling, or afraid, to show these challenging artworks only adds to our collective shame.

18 thoughts on “Botero’s Abu Ghraib work exhibited in USA. But not in a museum

  1. Dear Mr “FUCKIN”, thanks for your comment, as it shows the level of civilization of at least some George W Bush supporters. I can tell you that your leader has indeed killed a lot of Iraqi prisoners like you want. Do you want to “CUT OFF THE BALLS” of all Iraqi (unindicted) prisoners, or (also) of Colombian artist Botero; you are not very clear on that. By the way, someone should repair the CAPS LOCK on your computer keyboard.


  2. your right bush did kill alot of people… personaly i think he was and still is a dick who had a cruel mind and a sad way of thinking… to think that people still believe in him shows the mentality of some people..its crazy!!!


  3. The USA has the right to do anything it wants to other countries. We have the nukes. To hell with the rest of the ‘civilized world’. They eat dogs and cats in China, do you call THAT civilized!? Don’t even get me started on the Russians.


  4. Hi, until I got your comment I used to think that reincarnation was a silly theory. However, after I got it, I started to think that maybe reincarnation really happened in at least one case: Adolf Hitler reincarnating as [sarcasm off].

    So you think the government of the USA has the right to kill over a million Iraqis; that it has the right to torture them like in Abu Ghraib, which is a crime? You think that the United States has the right to nuke all other countries? You really should see a psychiatrist.

    That some people eat dogs in South Korea (not in China as you state) is of course no justification at all for torturing Iraqis. Just like the fact that some people in the USA eat opossums; and some other people in the USA eat caviar, eggs of endangered sturgeon, would not be any justification for throwing nuclear bombs on the USA (or maybe on Australia or Japan, in your incoherent logic).


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