The needler in the haystack.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Chris/tina's World


This meme on Christie, which surfaced after his
New Hampshire primary defeat, is a riff on a famous painting...

Plainfield art lovers may find a somewhat bitter irony in the "Chris Christie's World" meme that surface on the web after Christie's poor showing in the New Hampshire Republican primary on Tuesday.

The painting (shown above) appeared on MAD Magazine's website on June 30, 2015 (see here), when Christie's campaign was confidently looking forward.

The piece is a riff on mid-20th century American painter Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World," which hangs at MoMA in New York (see here).



Andrew Wyeth's 1948 painting was of a Maine neighbor.


Wyeth's painting was wildly popular in the 1950s (I remember it being on the cover of a coffee table art book of the period). Its somewhat mysterious air always intrigued me, and I learned that the 'Christina' of the painting was a neighbor of Wyeth's in South Cushing, Maine, one of the two locations in which he did his painting (the other being Chadds Ford, PA).

Christina had been crippled (some say by polio) as a young woman and Wyeth is said to have been inspired to paint the scene after he saw her crawling across the lawn from a window. She was actually picking blueberries when he saw her, though the painting does not convey this.

Knowing that Christina had "mobility issues' (to use today's terminology) makes the Wyeth picture poignant, suggesting Christina's world is made small and difficult by her physical disability. But Wyeth intended that it would also suggest she had a rich and indomitable spirit (see here).

Christie's campaign was in an upbeat mood when MAD Magazine did the riff, and he is seen lying on his back, presumably daydreaming of being in the White House.

Juxtaposing the image with Christie's defeat and withdrawal from the presidential campaign puts it in a somewhat different and more cruelly ironic light -- he will never make it to the house on the rise, no matter how hard he crawls.

Whereas, we suspect that the real Christina, painstakingly and with great difficulty, did.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]


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