Over the weekend, we received a tip about an online controversy surrounding news that New York artist Tom Sanford’s 2005 painting “The Assassination of Dimebag Darrell Abbott” will soon be auctioned for charity at Philips de Pury. (Note that Sanford is one of Bad at Sports’ regular New York correspondents). The painting depicts legendary guitarist and Pantera founder Darrell Lance Abbott on the night of his murder onstage during a Damageplan performance in Columbus, Ohio. (Also killed that night were Jeff Thompson, 40, Nathan Bray, 23, and Erin Halk, 29). When the website Blabbermouth posted a story announcing that the painting would be auctioned, numerous metalheads voiced a renewed sense of outrage and disgust via comment boards and forums like this one on Metal Underground. (Metafilter also picked up on the controversy).
Much of the anger seems to stem from the idea that Sanford is exploiting Abbott’s death by depicting the much-loved figure in a disrespectful and even lurid manner. And yet, if you read through the discussion on Metal Underground’s site, amongst the myriad “what a douche” comments and death threats (!) you’ll also find some polite dissension from metal fans themselves, as in this comment, by MetalBro4Life: Read more