Originally set to run in The New York Times Magazine in the Fall of 2001, the tragic events of 9/11 and the ensuing media selfcensorship created an environment where Fink’s critical images of the president and his men were deemed unpublishable.
First exhibited in Spring 2004 at the DuBois Gallery at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, “The Forbidden Pictures” caused quite a sensation, as the office of director Ricardo Viera received nearly one thousand telephone calls and e-mails in two days.
Of particular offense was a four-by-four foot photograph of a George Bush look-alike fondling a woman’s breast. “The woman has to be seen as a metaphor for our foreign policy,” Fink told The Associated Press. “I think that would be appropriate for what we were doing in our foreign policy: Groping without any good understanding of what we were doing and taking advantage of our imperious power.”
Called “offensive” and “inappropriate,” this photograph outraged conservatives and republicans nationwide, including Steve Elliot of Grassfire.org, who told the Allentown Morning Call that the university should “do the decent and honorable thing and take the picture down.” Hardly a surprising reaction considering that the voice that mocks and questions our elected officials has all but been silenced throughout the Bush administration. Leave it to Fink to challenge the status quo.