A rapeseed portrait of Bill Cosby sparked outrage from attendees at the State Fair held at the Agriculture Horticulture Building in Minnesota, causing it to be taken down after a day of display.
Artist Nick Rindo, Minneapolis based software designer, made the crop portrait of Bill Cosby from a type of canola seeds called rapeseed. He accompanied the Cosby portrait with a small card, explaining that it was made from rapeseed but one of the staff taped over the word rapeseed.
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Ron Kelsey, the Fair’s longtime crop art superintendent, reasoned out, “We call everything canola in this country.”
Rindo believed the word was taped over so Kelsey could avoid controversy regarding the Bill Cosby portrait.
“Now it looks like I just painted a portrait of Bill Cosby with canola seeds,” Rindo said.
Rindo explained that he put the word rapeseed in parentheses with the Cosby portrait to clarify that he was not a Cosby fan, it was supposed to be connected to the alleged rape cases against Cosby.
“I didn’t want it to look like I was glorifying Bill Cosby,” Rindo said.
Without the word rapeseed in the Cosby portrait, a lot of fairgoers reportedly complained and accused the exhibit of being pro-rape, so Kelsey took it down last Friday.
“It’s my responsibility to look at them all and check them out,” Kelsey said.
However, Nick Rindo was not bothered by what happened to his portait of Bill Cosby, in fact he was surprised it was even accepted in the fair.
He said it’s just a reflection of how the public rejected Bill Cosby because of his alleged drugging and sexual assault of dozens of women.
“I think it’s actually maybe the best possible scenario,” Rindo said. “Up for a day and then taken down.”
Rindo’s other works are still in the fair.