The naked Brian Cowen

Earlier this month someone walked into the National Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and hung a nude painting of our illustrious leader, Brian Cowen, in the “National Portrait Collection” section of the gallery.
Another painting was hung in a nearby gallery. More details can be found on this Tribune article.

Brian Cowen

Brian Cowen

All a bit of fun right? Sure, nobody wants to see a satirical nude photo of themselves hung up in public but the pictures were only on display for a short time. One or two newspapers reported on it and the national broadcaster, RTE, carried the following report on Monday night:

I never saw the original news clip. I was barely aware it had happened until this morning when the blogs and twitter were all alight with talk of the apology RTE broadcast last night. They also removed the news clip and article from their site.

RTE has to apologise and be censored for reporting the news? What sort of country are we living in? If Fianna Fail had let things lie all this would have blown over and be forgotten by now.

Ray D’Arcy speaking on TodayFM (a private national radio station) revealed the painter is Conor Casbey yesterday, but he wasn’t the one who hung the paintings. After the show yesterday a Garda called to the TodayFM offices looking for the email of the artist to caution him. The request was refused. Ray admitted that if the Garda hadn’t called he wouldn’t be talking about the paintings today.

More coverage by Irish bloggers:

Grandad has a different viewpoint. Brave of you 🙂

Control of the media is essential at this time, lest they say something negative about His Holiness. In fact, the Director General of RTE should immediately be reassigned to a menial task in the Ringsend Sewage Station as a lesson to the rest of those who would speak ill of our Great Government.

We must all revere and adore His Godliness for his inspired leadership in this time of crisis. Nothing negative must pass our lips.

The North Koreans have the right idea.

(Great caricature by Alan Cavanagh)

So, next time you see something funny about Gordon Brown or Barack Obama be glad you don’t live in Ireland. Spread the news. Check out #picturegate on Twitter.

PS. Many many more blogs are covering picturegate now but take a look at this thread on Creative Ireland. Great photoshopping going on there! (Alastair)


32 thoughts on “The naked Brian Cowen

  1. I’m more shocked by the fact that RTE allowed a HTML entity to creep into their sub-title for that art (or rather, frame) valuer. Maybe that’s why the story got yanked.

  2. Wow, this story really sums up my bittersweet feelings about Ireland, having chosen to live abroad since graduating.

    For me, the people who hung the picture represent all that is best about the Irish, as does the cheerful curator from the Royal Hibernian Academy Gallery, as does the gallery visitor who happened to see it in the 20 minutes it was up – you can imagine how much she must have laughed if she now wants to buy it. Even the original RTE piece is well done, good humored and sparklingly Irish.

    On the other hand, the swift removal of the news item and the abject apology show, all too clearly, want is wrong with Ireland. The Irish are an uncommonly decent and funny people, ruled by a golden circle of indecent vultures, held in power by a gombeen army of humorless invertebrates.

  3. I am disgusted RTE had to apologise for that item on Brian Cowan portrait so much for free speech and living in a democracy its was a funny light-hearted news item that would have gone away by itself and instead it has blown up in FF faces the sooner this government is gone the better they have squandered tax payers money during the boom, awarded themselves pay rises, facilitated wealthy individuals to avoid paying tax by setting up schemes to offset their liability, we want a farer society where everyone pays their fair share tax payers funds go towards front line services health, education, social welfare, transport and not to bail out corrupt financial instructions and overpaid politicians.

  4. I have NEVER been more enraged than I am now. Not even after Charlie fucked up this country in the 80’s and my family and I had to leave the country to survive! Not even when Bertie repeated his predecessors’ mistakes 10 years later (after I moved back to my beloved home, Ireland), squandering tax payers money in the so called god times…good for bankers and Bertie’s buddies I mean! Not even when Cowen was announcing his emergency budget (which seemed quite similar to previously failed recession budgets). NOW the fat bastard thinks he can force communist morals onto us and gag the people of this country, and may we all remind him, he is only Taoiseach by default! Now now Mr. Cowen, please remember that the people of Ireland are essentially your employers…in which case, YOUR FIRED!

  5. As much as I think this was handled poorly (to put it mildly) by FF pro.. this isn’t censorship.. can people stop calling it censorship cause they look like hyperbolic bores.

  6. In a little while, they will ask, who was this fellow Cowen, he must have ruled a great nation, rumour has it he was paid more than the President of the United States, then surely he must have been great. What was his first name, ah Leonard, that’s it, Leonard Cohen what a musican.

  7. Brian Cowan is a total disgrace. What he done in todays Budget is an outrage. Hitting people where it hurts taking away what little the small people have. Taking away tax relief, taking away everything. Is there room in his house for me and my 6 yr old daughter if I cant make my mortgage repayments because I was made redundant because of the mess he made of the country.
    Brian Cowan a disaster a disgrace.

  8. Fortunately, over here in the UK we have Gordon “Saviour of the Universe” Brown. The media shows endless hours of Gordon – getting off planes, shaking hands, making speeches and answering questions from friendly journalists. Loved and admired throughout the world – or is he?………….

      1. Donncha,

        A fair question, but lets see what it’s worth in a years time, bearing in
        mind the economic problems being experienced by some of it’s members.

        The US dollar is weak in comparison at the moment buts lets not forget
        the US is at the centre of the worlds current financial problems. They
        have also wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on fighting pointless

        Ireland is experiencing massive economic problems at the moment because
        it is caught in the Euro straight-jacket and cannot set policy according
        to its own needs.

        The only way the Euro can work is if we have total political and
        financial union with centralised unelected government – aka The Corrupt,
        Undemocratic EU. What did they say when the Irish excersised its democratic right and voted NO – they said “Vote Again!!!” Every other country in
        the EU has been denied a vote at all – WAKE-UP!

        If you want to see the end result of EU membership, come to London and
        gaze at the sea of cheap clothing stores, pound shops, kebab shops,
        burger bars, fried chicken, arcades and bookies. Our “mixed” economy
        has been replaced with one of low paid immigrant labour and a mass
        exordus of the skilled and professional classes to the Home Counties or

        They say, if you want to know what your bride will look like in 30 years,
        look at her mother. Well if you want to know what Ireland will look like
        in 30 years (probably a lot less) then come and look at London!


  9. Donncha,

    Just in case you are still under the misapprehension that the EU has any interest in the Democratic Rights of its citizens, the following article is from the “EU SUPPORTING” Guardian Newspaper.


    “The Tampere programme was drawn up and negotiated by officials of the council of the European Union and the European commission, without any consultation with national or European parliaments, let alone civil society, and adopted in closed sessions[pdf] by the European council (EU prime ministers).”


    “This will generate a wealth of information for public security organisations, leading to behaviour being predicted and assessed by “machines” (their term) which will issue orders to officers on the spot. The proposal presages the mass gathering of personal data on travel, bank details, mobile phone locations, health records, internet usage, criminal records however minor, fingerprints and digital pictures that can be data-mined and applied to different scenario – boarding a plane, behaviour on the Tube or taking part in a protest.”


    “This would go far beyond current co-operation and mean that policies affecting the liberties and rights of everyone in Europe would not be determined in London or Brussels but in secret EU-US meetings.”

    Full Article:-

    As it appears that Ireland is the only country that can stop this project with a resounding “NO VOTE” to the EU Contitution, I respectfully request that you/your readers forward this article to as many people/journalists as possible.


  10. It has always been this way. When has RTE ever dared to screen the sort of mild satire of politicians that BBC’s Spitting Image pioneered in the 1980s? Dermot Morgan, a comic genius, had to go to the UK find work after the almost inoffensive (by the standards of other countries) Scrap Saturday. It doesn’t look like things will ever change.

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