JULIAN RAVEN’S TRUMP-INSPIRED ART REJECTED BY SMITHSONIAN: Artist goes to court, fights Smithsonian ‘corruption’

30 September 2022

Julian Raven’s art and love for his adopted country and its freedoms collided in the 2016 presidential election to raise questions about the First Amendment and the authority of the Smithsonian Institution.In his new book, Odious & Cerberus: An American Immigrant’s Odyssey and His Free Speech Legal War Against Smithsonian Corruption, artist Julian Raven details how he used his art to participate in the American political process—and the enormous personal toll it took.“Breaches of trust and the silencing of any person’s First Amendment protected free speech within institutions of learning, regardless of that person’s political leanings, trip the alarm of injustice and freedom,” said Raven.Raven’s painting Unafraid and Unashamed featured Donald Trump alongside a bald eagle, was his enthusiastic expression of support for his choice for president. He used his own resources to transport the painting to Iowa to campaign for Trump in the caucuses. After several attempts to present the painting to Donald Trump, and after showing it at a political art convention, he offered to loan the painting to the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.Raven filed an application with the Rockwell Museum Art in Corning, New York, a Smithsonian affiliate, to loan the painting to the museum in Washington prior to the inauguration, he was curtly told by Director Kim Sajet the painting was “not painted from life,” “too pro-Trump” and, finally, “no good.”  This led to a lawsuit and a pro-se appeal that went as far as the Supreme Court.Mr. Raven has proposed and advocates for a Constitutional amendment to define the legal status of the Smithsonian as a private trust or an instrument of the government and require greater transparency in its operations.Julian Raven was born in England, raised in Spain and became a United States citizen in 2015. He is a commercial artist.