THE BEER BEAT: Making light switch covers great again, and other examples of stewed cranberries tasting like prunes.


File under: Slow news day. 

Or maybe “any publicity is good publicity,” this coming from the guy who put Lenin (and Che) on the Red Room wall.

Nude Donald Trump painting at Against the Grain getting jeers and cheers
, by Elizabeth Kramer (Courier-Journal)

A tiny detail on a small work of art in the men’s restroom at Against the Grain Brewery has elicited a big reaction from customers.

The art in question is a replica of a nude painting of President Donald Trump — a 2016 work called “Make America Great Again” by Los Angeles-based artist Illma Gore. It’s on a light switch in the men’s restroom that a regular customer at Against the Grain put up without asking about four months ago, said general manager Shane Benton.

“We let it ride,” Benton said. “It’s art.”

I’m reminded of the scene in the Marx Brothers’ film Animal Crackers.

Capt. Spaulding (Groucho): Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… Now you tell me what you know.

Was it art or politics when I added a photo of Gus Hall, head of the Communist Party USA, next to Lenin in the Red Room? After all, Hall ran for president on more than one occasion.

(Owner Sam) Cruz said he has never considered getting rid of the art.

“We are ‘Against The Grain,’” he said. “There is a lot in a name and definitely being fearless when it comes to standing by our values as it pertains to self-expression, which is a part of that.”

He added that image of the nude Trump does not express the company’s political values.

This Swiss fellow disagrees with Sam.

Arts has always been intertwined with politics, even when such slogans as l’art pour l’art were professed. From mimetic to corrective tool, art served its given purpose and was influenced and shaped by different social conditions and circumstances. Artistic production never solely replicated reality. Even during Realism it had its purpose of showing the brutality or beauty of everyday life to viewers. In the Nazi and Soviet visual culture was heavily encumbered with additional meanings supportive of ideological stances. Some creatives succumbed to ideological burden and created works that glorified political regimes, while in contrast to such attitudes, alternative artistic practices developed, often confounded to groups with limited access to public domain.

Speaking of fearless self-expression in local beer culture, here is my favorite example.

Not that soiled drawers reflect my political values, or anything like that.

(insert smiley face and LOL here)