This work was exhibited in the first of the three Hairy Who exhibitions. Featuring a large figure seated in a spare, stagelike setting, flanked by two smoking industrial chimneys, this painting reflects the Imagists’ collective appreciation for visual sources in popular media as well as their interest in subjects involving imagination, irony, and a high emotional charge. Art Green’s use of outline, emphasis on organic shapes, and use of bright color is also characteristic of his fellow Chicago Imagists imagery. The painting’s title is based on a quote from then US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara regarding events in the war in Vietnam, and the central image of the composition itself comes from a well-publicized photograph of McNamara featured in the national press. The telescoping thought balloon with the emphatic “NO!” recalls a comic book convention of speech, while the jagged explosions echo the blasts of cartoon illustrations.
Resource: Smart Collecting: Acquisitions 1990-2004, Kimberly Rorschach, ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004, p. 74.