The Smithsonian Institute declined to display a recent portrait of President-elect Donald Trump by a New York artist in favor of installing a 1989 portrait of Trump from their own collection.
Photographer Michael O’Brien snapped the 1989 Trump portrait, which the Smithsonian has had since 2011, along with 4 other Trump portraits. The image shows Trump tossing an apple up in the air with his right hand.
The Smithsonian denied a portrait of Trump titled “Unafraid And Unashamed” created by Julian Raven, an Elmira, N.Y. artist who was born in London, raised in Spain and now proclaims he’s a newborn citizen of the United States. Raven also served as a New York delegate for Trump during the convention.
A portrait of Barack Obama was displayed in January 2009 from Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster.
“I’m like ‘And the Obama poster is not pro-Obama?!'” Raven told WETM this week. “The description credits the red, white, blue, and patriotic colors in the description of the Obama poster. Why would they accept that level of patriotism, but my painting’s too patriotic?”
“You don’t apply to have portraits or artifacts taken into the Smithsonian,” Smithsonian spokesperson Linda St. Thomas told The Daily Caller Tuesday.
St. Thomas added, “We had the original art work for that [Obama] poster. We had no paintings of him or other works. So we used that for the inaugural space for about a one month display in the middle of January. In this case, in our collection, we had a photograph of president elect Trump and that’s the one we’re using.”
“When I had my application forwarded by Director Of Affiliations Harold Closter he never told me there was no application process,” Raven wrote in an e-mail to TheDC.
“The next day when I called the office of Director Sajet to find out what I may need to do, how this was to go forward I was not told by the assistant there was not application process. I was told to expect a call about it. And within 15 minutes I received the very bizarre call from Director Sajet herself,” Raven stated.
“If there was no application process then within these three steps it would have been easy to say what Linda St. Thomas said. But no, a ‘process’ has been discussed by all of the officials so far, they have just denied me that process,” he added.
Raven appealed the decision of the Smithsonian hoping for a decision change.