When my kid was in 12th grade, he created a huge installation for his final art project. I helped him build it. We built three 4'x8' panels, hinged them together to create a walk-in installation. We covered the whole thing with thick black cloth, and installed a lightbulb. To view the installation, you had to walk into this police-box sized room and turn on the light. When you did this, you would be confronted with 3 panels explicitly depicting incidents of prejudice-based violence, up close and personal - white on black violence (a Klan member standing in front of a burning cross), black on white violence, skinheads beating up a skinny long-haired kid. When you turned around to get out, you'd see the text, "We all bleed the same color." We delivered it Friday, somehow managing to get it to the school without breaking it, in time for the Senior Art show.
On Monday morning, a race riot almost broke out in the kid's school. All the non-white students freaked out when the walked in the front door to their school and were immediately confronted by a 4'x8' panel of a Klan member and a burning cross, with the kid's name on an index card assigning blame.
The kid was almost lynched.
Apparently the art teacher decided that too many people wouldn't bother going into the little box, and that the artwork would be better displayed if he took it apart and just hung up the panels in various places in the school. So it ended up looking like my kid was glorifying the KKK, because this thing got hung up out of context, separate from the other panels, and without the text that was the whole point of the piece.
The message would have more impact if more people saw it, the art teacher had decided.
It had more impact, that's for sure.
The New Yorker claims that their cover is a satire of the false and spurious claims that have been made by some about Barack Obama. Even John McCain has criticized The New Yorker for this. The New Yorker folk were just on TV claiming that this is satirical, and everyone understands that, and the controversy is good for Obama, because it gets people talking about him.
Obama's team has suggested that it would be better if people were talking about the economy.