Who's Afraid Of Gov. Blagojevich?

Aug 12, 2015

This summer, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been back in the news. Years after he was convicted on corruption charges and began serving a 14-year sentence in prison, a panel of federal appellate judges threw out some of the convictions against him. Blagojevich has asked the full appellate court to hear his case in the hopes they'll vacate his entire conviction.

But that's not what this story is about. Rather, hearing about Blagojevich again reminded me that we in Illinois — especially those of us who spend a lot of time working in the Illinois Statehouse — don't spend enough time thinking about Gov. Blagojevich. And there's a big gaping manifestation of that failure on the second floor of the Capitol.

The Hall of Governors, on the second floor of the Illinois Statehouse, has paintings of all but two of the men to serve as Illinois' chief executive. It's likely just a matter of time for Gov. Pat Quinn, who only left office in January. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, however, has gone unrepresented for years.
Credit Brian Mackey / WUIS

Lee Enterprises' Springfield Bureau Chief Kurt Erickson, who has written about the missing Blagojevich portrait,  joins us to talk about why it's not there and what can be done. I also speak to artist and Illinois College professor Jeff Garland, who painted his own (unofficial) Blagojevich portrait: the triptych "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" (PDF):

Jeff Garland's triptych "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" (shown in reverse order), on display at a Springfield gallery in 2010. Garland says he wouldn't want his work to substitute for an official gubernatorial portrait in the Statehouse.
Credit Brian Mackey

Music: "Back Stairs" and "Filaments" by Podington Bear. Used under a Creative Commons BY-NC-3.0 license, via WFMU's Free Music Archive.

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