Updated: Nov 20, 2020
In place of recent events, I decided to illustrate what I believe is my take on George Grosz's painting, called The Pillar of Society. But first, we should talk about who George Grosz was. Grosz was an artist that lived at the beginning of the 20th-century. He was able to predict with just one painting how the world would look right before World War II happened. The Pillar of Society was completed in 1926, and it can be currently found in the National Gallery in Berlin, Germany.
The Pillars of Society, George Grosz, 1926
bpk Bildagentur / Nationalgalerie, SMB / Art Resource, NY / Artists Rights Society / Estate of George Grosz
This painting is extremely sarcastic - my cup of tea. It is about the German elite classes which support the fascist movement, very much in parallel with what is happening in America today. In this painting, Grosz satirized what he believed was a very corrupt and elitist society in Germany at the time. He used his skills to produce a grotesque and quite horrific portrayal of those who controlled society.
In his painting, we can see four main characters:
We have an old beer-drinking aristocrat with his head full of war and a dueling scar on his cheek in the foreground. There is a swastika on his necktie. He's holding a glass of beer, and on the other hand, he is holding a sword. His monocle is opaque and symbolizing that he can't see. His head is open, and inside, you can see the horse of war coming out.
There is a picture of a journalist on the left, and he is wearing a chamber pot on his head. Symbolizing that the media is stupid.
On the right hand, we see a cartoon of the German president at the time holding a flag and a socialist pamphlet saying “socialism must work” in Germany. His head is exposed, and there is a pile of s*** coming out.
Behind these characters, a pro-nazi clergyman preaches peace, choosing to ignore murder, atrocities, and hate that the military is conducting in the background. You can also see that the city in the background is in flames, and there is chaos.
George Grosz believed that the people in charge of Germany at the time lacked morals and integrity. In 1921, Grosz offered this advice to artists; "Come out of your rooms, even if you find it an effort, pull down your individual barriers, let yourselves be caught up by the ideas of working people and help them in the struggle against a corrupt society."
Now that I have explained who George Grosz was and what his painting meant, I think it is good to explain why I decided to paint this piece. The fact is that President Donald Trump is not looking to do a smooth transition of power to president-elect Joe Biden. So I decided to make my own 2020 Pillars of Society. In the center of my piece, you see Donald Trump with his head open, only thinking about his wealth and how he can benefit from all the chaos he has inflicted. To the right, we have the media - Fox News - who follow him blindly and, basically, lick his ass. To the left, we have MAGA - need I say more? On top of this character, we have the proud boys whose head is full of s***. Next to him, we have a Karen who is being influenced by the evangelical priest that I have to the upper left. The evangelical priest preaches peace and understanding and asks for our president's support, ignoring the atrocities he has committed. I painted a demonic mask behind the evangelical priest, and it faces the Karen. Both characters are in it together. Right of Karen, we have “the rich” with a smile profiting from all the chaos and atrocities, dressed in money. Above the rich, we have ICE, and to the left, we have the police—both barbaric entities. I drew the American flag in the background upside down and opposite colors because we are in an upside-down country where human decency and common sense are absent.
2020 Pillars of Society by Adri Montano
It is up to us to change this. It is up to us to put in the work and stand up for what we believe and what is right. I believe that we can be the change. That we can speak up and show the truth to the world. That we bleed red, that we are all equal, and that we should all pay for the consequences of our actions. I hope I am wrong when I say that President Trump will walk free and won’t face any consequences. I really hope I am wrong. I still have some faith. After all, where is justice and liberty for all?
Do you like the painting and its meaning? You can get it!
For a poster, click here.
For canvas, click here.
For postcards, click here.