It’s Wonkette Art Appreciation Time, with Ryan Zinke’s Official Interior Department Portrait

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Former Trump cabinet member Ryan Zinke dropped by Home Office this week for the unveiling of his official portrait, which shows him on horseback through one of the national monuments he helped shrink so that it can be opened for commercial exploitation. It was a fitting – albeit completely odd – tribute to Zinke’s tenure in the Interior, which he mismanaged until his resignation in 2018, when he could no longer see his office for all federal inquiries into. his behavior in power. Brian Kahn of Gizmodo Earther has the deets:

Zinke’s portrait was painted by Montana artist Brent Cotton and shows the former secretary on horseback in front of a mound topped by a tree. The department said the painting was funded by private donors, but did not say who chose the portrait. The inspiration for the painting is the Bears Ears National Monument, which the then secretary visited in 2017 before narrowing it down. Heather Swift, former Home Secretary, tweeted to Deseret News reporter Amy Joi O’Donoghue, asking “do you sound familiar?” 🙂 ”.

Indeed, it is! O’Donoghue joined Zinke on a cross bear ears. Photos of them show a mound in the background which is a carbon copy of the one in Zinke’s portrait.

Yeah, same place, different angle. Enjoy!

It’s a perfectly competent painting that is somewhat not the work of America’s greatest artist Jon McNaughton. You can tell by the subtle details: there is no Barack Obama burning the Constitution or Donald Trump saving the flag from rude black athletes. As they say in art classes, the use of negative space is very important.


It’s a good thing that no taxpayer money has been wasted on this, at least. Honestly, Interior already had this very beautiful portrait of Zinke which we only discovered after he resigned:

Seven months after this trip to Bears Ears, which had been established by the tyranny of Obama in 2016, Zinke had the pleasure of witnessing the signing by Donald Trump of an executive order telling Bears Ears and another national monument , Grand Staircase-Escalante, “YOU’RE LICENSEED.” Or at least drastically cut in size. Bears Ears has lost about 85% of its size, from 1.35 million acres to 201,000 acres, and Grand Staircase- Escalante, a radical liberal monument created by Bill Clinton, lost about half its area. A litigation contesting Trump’s authority to ransack established national monuments, even those created by Democrats he truly hated, is ongoing.

While the decimation of the Bears Ears was very popular with the US extractive industries and Utah lawmakers, Kahn Remarks it really conned a whole bunch of people, including environmentalists, paleontologists, and archaeologists, and especially the Native American tribes who had been among the biggest advocates of creating the monument in the first place, to preserve sacred sites. Not to mention the 99 percent of the public who submitted comments oppose the movement. But don’t worry: Indigenous peoples may have lost protection of the land, but at least they have gained some very small and hypocritical tribute of the artist!

Cotton said the portrait includes a “nod to his respect for Native American tribes” (sic) in the band of the hat. Again, Zinke chose to shrink Bears Ears during the opposition of five tribes who hold the earth sacred and initially convinced President Barack Obama to set it aside.

On the bright side, at least Donald Trump didn’t show up to make another “Pocahontas” joke about Elizabeth Warren, so there you go. Zinke himself seemed a little disrespectful to one of the indigenous activists who offered his contribution on this 2017 trip, as Kahn points out:

[Zinke] got a little aggressive with native bear ear advocate Cassandra Begay after asking her to listen to people asking for the monument to be protected. In a posted video of the incident, Zinke can be seen turning around and pointing a finger at her while berating her “be nice”. Not how I would show someone respect, even if I don’t agree with them, but then I’m not someone who get caught up in 17 known probes at fault neither lie to federal investigators.

I guess the little band of hats is all due respect like naming a subdivision after all of the tree species that were razed to build it.

We still think Zinke’s official portrayal could be improved upon, so we’ve wasted an hour and a bit on this image of Ryan Zinke walking through a landscape he would truly enjoy:

[Gizmodo Earther / NYT]

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