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Photoshop painting of Marilyn Manson.

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Comment by Resident Curator on September 4, 2022 at 1:39pm

Curator’s Comments:

Leader of the Club remerged in a random selection of works on the site, and I remember being struck by its graphic and dark appeal when I first encountered it many years ago. Your fantastical ink drawn creatures and academic works pulled my attention away from it at the time, but I find myself circling back to its enigmatic presence. The notation that this is a photoshop painting of Marilyn Manson helps to contextualize the distinctly counter-cultured portrait. But the title becomes even more ironic for me as we presently encounter increased societal tribalism at every turn. This is particularly true in the US political arena. The painted blackness of the face inevitably and disturbingly conjures historic blackface, but arguably moves beyond race with the dominantly skewed Mickey Mouse ears. The portrait could just as easily depict an indictment of commercialism, or the personification of a “Donnie Darko” alter ego suppressing collective enlightenment as a purely formal manipulation of a found image. There are other references to archetypal ghouls in your collection of works on the site; most notably Hammertime and Zombieface.  But Leader of the Club remains a more macabre figure because rather than a cartoon or stylized rendering of our imagination, it upholds a twinge of familiarity.


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