The passage of time makes major art controversies seem almost petty. So it is with Robert Arneson's Portrait of George (Moscone), which divided San Francisco along fault lines: Those who said Arenson's sculpture of slain mayor George Moscone was a blasphemous abomination, and those who said it suited a city that embraced irreverence and artistic license. SFMOMA's acquisition of Portrait of George (Moscone) allows the public to see for itself Arenson's divisive choices: the bullet holes, the faux blood, the words “Bang, Bang, Bang” and the Twinkie image — all references to Dan White's gruesome 1978 assassination of Moscone. Portrait of George (Moscone) retains its edginess, and its inclusion at SFMOMA is a fitting tribute. The sculpture now has a public permanence it didn't achieve in Arneson's lifetime.
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