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Now Is a Great Time to Appreciate Jim Carrey’s Art

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Jim Carrey speaks onstage during "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton" at AFI FEST 2017 Presented By Audi at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres on November 13, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for AFI)

Today, more than ever before, the world is taking notice of a phenomenon that has been ongoing since at least the time of Donald Trump’s election: Jim Carrey’s political art. It’s been a primary part of Carrey’s social media presence for some time–that is, he regularly tweets new colorful, marker-made drawings, usually ghoulish renderings of modern political figures, with a quippy associated caption.

Today, a portrait of Sarah Huckabee Sanders attracted more attention that any of Carrey’s previous works, though his anti-Facebook composite (I’ll call it “Fakebook”) was certainly a pointed statement. The Sanders drawing made waves largely among right-wing social media pundits who objected to the unflattering depiction of the White House Press Secretary:

I’ll leave it to you, reader, to decide whether Carrey’s virulent attack on Sanders’ Christian hypocrisy is grounds for anti-misogynist critique, or if it’s just the best the Mr. Popper’s Penguins actor could do at accurately rendering the Secretary’s face at a press conference. For reference, consider Carrey’s recent tribute to Stephen Hawking, his recent series of self-critical  text-based abstractions, or this horrifying thing. It’s probably most instructive to see Carrey’s incendiary study of Sanders in the context of his other pieces depicting political figures with an attention to realistic facial details: for instance, his gory Marco Rubio portrait, his Willard-referencing sketch of Trey Gowdy as a rat, his ominous closeup of Roy Moore sneering sadistically, or his poignant picture of Lincoln weeping in reaction to Trump’s 2018 State of the Union speech:

Never one to resist an opportunity to capitalize on a bit of notoriety, Carrey followed up his inflammatory Sanders portrait today with a more high-concept piece. In his new “The Wicked Witch of the West Wing and Putin’s Flying Monkeys,” Carrey amalgamates Trump (who he’s  referred to as “Chief Little Hands” in other works) and The Wizard of Oz‘s Wicked Witch of the West into a new, chilling figure. Looking like he’s wearing a graduation gown more than a cape, this warlock-ified Trump brings to mind Carrey’s iconic roles in The Mask and The Grinch nearly as much as the classic Oz villain:

My qualitative judgment would be that it’s one of Carrey’s most fleshed-out and visually pleasing works, on par with his subversive, richly symbolic rendering of White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly:

An overlooked and curious detail in Carrey’s presentation is his use of smiley faces with a carrot nose in his explanatory captions. Sometimes, they integrate a normal parenthesis to form a mouth; elsewhere, stranger brackets, i.e. “}”, are employed. When the piece is communicating a particularly pointed message, he may dare to use a “P.” But it’s usually hard to determine any clear significance to the alterations. Each emoticon seems to basically signify the same thing: “I’m a man making mischief in a doomed world.”

Viewers of Jim and Andy, last year’s disorienting Netflix documentary about Carrey’s on-set antics during the making of the Andy Kaufman biopic Man On The Moon–or his red carpet interview at a party during last year’s New York Fashion Week–should be fully aware of the fact, but the main takeaway of all this is that Jim Carrey has crossed the rubicon and become fully, abidingly insane:

In lieu of some inferior, pithy kicker, I’ll leave you with this image: