ABC News Awards Artist, Scott Lobaido

Rarely is an artist mentioned on television news without there being something sensationalist or bizarre about the artist’s work. Such was the case when ABC News awarded its “Person of the Week” to Scott Lobaido for his Flags Across America project. Lobaido has been painting giant American flags on rooftops from Alaska to Hawaii – and he hopes to paint them in every state of the union. ABC News showcased Lobaido as a warm and friendly all American boy driving across country in his old truck, painting the stars and stripes on rooftops out of his love for country and the nation’s war veterans. The ABC report showed him painting one rooftop while saying, “It’s not pro-war, anti-war. It’s about these men and women who step up to the plate. It’s about the patriotic glue, this glue that keeps us all together regardless of our ideology.”

But who exactly is Scott Lobaido and what kind of art does he create when he’s not painting rooftops red, white and blue? While the Brooklyn Museum of Art exhibited the controversial works of Chris Ofili in 1999, Lobaido was outside protesting with a rabid crowd of religious zealots and censors demanding the exhibit be closed. He was arrested by police for throwing dung at the museum. A year later he returned, walking into the institution with a 3-foot painting of museum director Arnold L. Lehman kissing a pig’s ass. Lobaido was arrested for “creating a public nuisance”, and as officers took him away he yelled, “This freak here who runs the museum says I can’t bring my art in here.”

As the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of George W. Bush vs Al Gore on December 12, 2000, handing the presidency to Bush – Scott Lobaido stood outside the nation’s highest court, dressed as Superman and holding a two-sided sign that read, “The End” and “Good Night Al, The Party Is Over.” In 2003, Lobaido was arrested in New York for invading the French Consulate to hang a large American flag on the building, a protest against France’s opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq that earned the “artist” one-year of probation.

Hail To The Chief, was Lobaido’s premiere New York exhibit timed to coincide with the NYC 2004 Republican National Convention. The “patriotic” exhibition at Tribute Gallery offered up a number of poorly executed paintings of a heavy handed propagandistic nature. Larger Than Life, an unintentionally Orwellian portrait of Ronald Reagan’s face set the tone for the show. KO, based upon a famous photo of Muhammad Ali fighting Sonny Liston, switched Ali and Liston for a muscle-bound George W. Bush knocking out a flabby Michael Moore. Peace Through Strength combined an F-16 fighter jet with a dove and an American flag. In 200 MPH, LoBaido depicted President Bush in a race car about to run down the Democratic Party Donkey. The exhibit also included an unsightly painting titled Have Faith – a gruesome depiction of maximum leader George W. Bush astride a horse, flag in one hand, and the severed head of Osama bin Laden in the other. Some poor fool actually purchased that dreadful painting for $2,800.

In an interview regarding the Hail To The Chief exhibit, LoBaido said, “Who is my biggest influence? Is it Picasso? No – Ronald Reagan!” If it’s not apparent by now, you could say that Scott Lobaido has a right-wing political agenda – of the extremist variety. You would think that with all of the uproar surrounding ABC’s ham-fisted handling of The Path to 9/11, that maladroit right-wing propaganda film posing as a supposed docu-drama, the station would want to steer clear of further controversies and avoid being seen as the All Bush Channel. But who would question a “feel good” story about an artist that loves his country and the American flag?

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