Hulbert Waldroup, political artist

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Date: 1998

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Painting


Artist: Hulbert Waldroup

Confronting Bodies: Retinitis and Pigmentosa Foundation

Dates of Action: 1998

Location: Illinois State Building, Chicago, IL

Description of Artwork: Six paintings including The Crucifixion, which depicts Bill Clinton on a burning cross wearing the American flag as a loincloth. The painting also features Monica Lewinsky as Jezebel, Linda Tripp as Judas, Kenneth Starr as Pontius Pilate, and Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Virgin Mary.

The Incident: Waldroup paid a $225 entrance fee to the charity event exhibit, in which he hung approximately 12 paintings. He encountered the show's administrator removing his paintings the day after the installation on the grounds that they were too political. Waldroup refused to remove his work when the organizers could not immediately reimburse his entrance fee. The state police were called and ultimately arrested the artist for trespassing.

      • This was not the first time Waldroup had encountered censorship. His painting, The Devil's Palace, was removed from an exhibit at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. The painting depicts Jesus and the devil sitting at a table laden with a bowl of eyeballs, a severed leg roast garnished with pineapple and ear kabobs. When viewers complained, the show's organizers removed the piece. Waldroup returned with his painting, propping it up on a wall outside the show.

Results of Incident: Waldroup was held for fifteen hour before being released on bail. His paintings were confiscated.

Source: NCAC, National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, The Detroit News 9.14.97.