Washington lobbyists Tony and Heather Podesta -- Tony being the brother of former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta -- have found a surefire way to titillate The Washington Post: They take their friendship with Hillary Clinton and their ownership of a photograph called Soliloquy VII, and combine the two.
Hillary Clinton, the former first lady, is a senator from New York who is running for president. Soliloquy VII, as described in the Post Style section on Tuesday, is "an 8-foot-tall color photo of a nude man lying on his back." It is the product of a female British photographer named Sam Taylor-Wood.
The photo previously enjoyed a prominent place in the living room of the Podestas Washington, D.C., home. When the Podestas held a fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton two weeks ago, however, neither the photo nor Mrs. Clinton made an appearance. "The candidate was missing and so was the infamous artwork -- which led to whispers that the picture was deemed unsuitable for a presidential campaign," the Post's Reliable Source column reported beside a strategically obscured reproduction of the photo.
Podesta denied the whispers, explaining that the photo was in routine storage "to prevent fading," and vowed to bring Mrs. Clinton and the naked man together again -- once she is president. "We are resting it for the presidential campaign but bringing it out for the inaugural ball," he said.
Mrs. Clinton made an earlier appearance with the photo when the Podestas held a fund-raiser for her senatorial campaign. "She teases me about it all the time," Podesta bragged to the Post.
In fact, this was not the first Style Section piece featuring the Podestas, their massive naked-man photo and Mrs. Clinton.
In 2004, the Post published an article, "Married, With Art," that explained the Podestas' art-collecting philosophy and described a number of the works they have exhibited not only in their Washington, D.C., home but also in their second home in the Lake Barcroft neighborhood of Fairfax County, Va. Once again, Mrs. Clinton and Soliloquy VII figured prominently.
"Tony and Heather don't shy away from discomfort -- especially when they can inflict it, ever so gently, on others," reported the Post.
"Steeped in liberal politics, Tony favors art with in-your-face nudity and social critique," the paper said.