Making protest art great again? Art about Donald Trump
Get a load of these Trump-inspired works of art
For months, Donald Trump's most outrageous moments have inspired some equally outrageous works of art, most of it scatalogically inclined, and it just keeps coming like a barf fountain of protest art. CBC Arts has rounded up a few new items since we published this list of the most infamous examples, a collection you'll find particularly amusing if you LOL at jokes about privates. Just like Donald Trump.
Emotional Download, James Ostrer
UK artist James Ostrer (whose unsettling portraiture recently appeared at Regina's Dunlop Art Gallery) brought his latest exhibition, "The Ego System," to Hong Kong in late March. He calls the pictures "honesty portraits," and how does he see Trump? He's a pile of meat wearing a wig.
That's the literal interpretation, in any case. Emotional Download, Ostrer's Trump portrait, is a sculpture of raw fish, chewed pastry and some mangled animal parts for Trump's eyes and snout, all squished into a blue suit. It's a picture of Trump's megalomania, says the artist, and as he explained to Reuters, it's "got to the point where his need for attention is overriding any kind of relationship or care for anyone else in the world."
The show also includes Ostrer's portraits of MileyCyrus, Kim Kardashian and more of the usual celebrity suspects. (Each star's lifetime tally of Google searches appears printed next to their portrait.)
Nothing personal, though.
"I didn't choose them purposefully because I disliked them," Ostrer told Reuters. "I felt like they, as individuals, were perfectly emblematic of certain aspects of the contemporary human condition."
"Made America Hate Again"
Was it an April Fool prank or a death threat? As it turns out, neither. When a gravestone for Donald Trump appeared in New York's (Trump-trademarked) Central Park on Easter Sunday, the monument was removed by authorities within hours, vanishing as quickly as it appeared.
A week later, the anonymous artist who masterminded the stunt revealed their intentions. "I was trying to find a way where I could literally connect to Donald and say, 'Wake up man," artist "X" told city blog Gothamist. "I was trying to get him to understand what he would be remembered for at this point."
The headstone, engraved with the words "Made America Hate Again," was reportedly purchased with the backing of several unnamed collectors, and installed on the edge of the park where it rested for just four hours. "I think this had a way of hitting him on an existential level and shake him awake instead of me protesting in front of a building or doing a performance piece," X told Hyperallergic. "I don't know if it's working or not, but I'm hoping it connects with him a little bit."
"Make America Great"
"Simply put, you can be a massive prick, despite what is in your pants." With that line, Illma Gore shared Make America Great with the world, a nude portrait/punchline rendered in pastel pencils. Despite the fact Trump's junk was drawn to miniscule proportion — smaller even than his allegedly short fingers — it did not escape notice of Facebook's censors. Shortly after Gore posted the image to a private Facebook group in February, the artist — who self-describes as "gender-fluid" — had their account temporarily suspended.
Gore now faces a ban from the world's largest social network, though their work continues to proliferate online, including the artist's Instagram account, where they've posted it several times. Gore says eBay, too, blocked the sale of the picture. Fine art, per their guidelines, can represent nudity, and in their opinion, Make America Great is not. The printable version of the piece can be downloaded via their website, where prints of Make America Great are also available for sale.
Just like Illma Gore, Houston artist Phillip Kremer knows what it's like to be booted from a social network, though to be fair, Kremer's Instagram, which was temporarily suspended earlier this winter, targets more than Trump. Anyone could be stuffed in the brain-blender that is his account, a bizarre series of collage portraits that remixes the faces of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and whoever this used to be. Even Illma Gore's Make America Great has made an appearance.
"I'm just tired of seeing their boring faces and wanted something fun to look at instead," Kremer told Artnet News this month, talking about what inspired the project. "If it makes someone smile, then good."
As for why the account was suspended, Kremer told Houston Public Media that his Instagram was unplugged without warning or indication of broken guidelines. A rep for the social network told the outlet: "Depictions of Donald Trump had nothing to do with the account being removed."
From New Hampshire to Ohio, Pennsylvania to Art Basel Miami, the T.Rump Bus keeps rolling, and this moving art project — literally one of Trump's used campaign vehicles that was sold on Craigslist in October — aims to travel to Trump rallies in as many primary states as possible, inviting the public to "vent frustration about the damage [Trump] is inflicting upon the American civic landscape."
Described as "an anti-Trump rolling art project," the bus was created by the art collective T.Rutt (David Gleeson and Mary Mihelic). Trump's official slogan, "Make America Great Again," is printed in Arabic on the back, a reaction to Trump's call to ban Muslims from visiting the U.S.A., while the "T.Rump" campaign's own, absurdly amended slogan "Make Fruit Punch Great Again" is splashed on the side.
Currently in the shop for repairs, the art collective hopes to get their bus back on the campaign trail soon, despite an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign to generate funds. "When this huge bus pulls in, it's such a spectacle," Mihelic told The Atlantic in February. "It actually draws all the people over, and we really engage with the public in a great way about Donald Trump — with the lovers, the haters and the undecided."
While The Donald's best known Canadian connection is to the Yukon — namely a Whitehorse brothel run by his grandpappy, Friedrich Trump — it's Winnipeg that's home to the Donald Trump "Murinal."
Local graffiti artist Scenereo painted the portrait, a wall-sized piece created for a nightclub men's room, which surrounds Trump with his ugliest quotes and tweets and places a urinal where his potty-mouth ought to be.
But if it all seems familiar, and we're not talking about Duchamp, you're right. Scenereo's "murinal" was inspired by another image which surfaced a few months back, a Photoshop job by California artists William Duke and Brandon Griffin which paints Trump's scowling face around the mouth-shaped urinals found at Belushi's Bar in Paris.
Like the men's room mural in Winnipeg, this painting by U.K. artist Conor Collins uses Trump's own words against him. As Collins explained when he tweeted the image in January, it's a portrait "made using only the racist, sexist, ignorant and bigoted things he has said," and compiles quotes sourced from interviews, speeches and @realDonaldTrump's Twitter.
"In this world where technology has brought us closer together than ever, people like him are trying to separate us," Collins told the Huffington Post. "It has to stop." Collins has gone viral in the past for creating portraits in a similar vein. Most recently, he recreated Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover using transphobic death threats posted online.
"Whatever," Sarah Levy
"You could see blood coming out of her eyes, coming out of her wherever." The day after Megyn Kelly moderated the first Republican presidential debate, that's how Donald Trump described her on CNN. Observers called it casual misogyny, and Trump was barred from a Republican event for his comment.
As for Sarah Levy, the Portland, Oregon artist's reaction was… "Whatever."
That's the title of this ruddy-faced portrait, painted using her own menstrual blood, a choice that's both serious and a scatalogical joke, one that she says brings attention to menstrual and "overall body shame." Levy says she will donate whatever she makes from the sale of the picture to an immigrant rights organization. "I love the potential of turning political art into something concrete that can help real people, especially if they're the ones who Trump is scapegoating the most," she says.
And in an essay about the project, Levy defended the work. "Some of the many reactions that have ricocheted around the Internet in the past days are from people who say they're outraged or disgusted by the piece — or just that they think I'm disgusting," she writes.
"I think what's truly disgusting is Donald Trump's blatantly racist comments about Mexicans and other immigrants and his open sexism. I think what's really outrageous is the fact that thousands of refugees from Central America — many of them mothers and children — who came to the U.S. hoping for mere survival have been locked up in detention centers.
"There are plenty of things to be outraged about, but my little piece of art should be at the bottom of that list."
Several dozen storeys below all those Trump Towers, you'll find plenty of Trump art in the street. Political satire is everywhere, from this Hanksy in New York City's Chinatown, transforming Trump into a poo pile as yellow and grotesque as his hair, to Chicago, where Jacob Thomas's paste-ups mix Trump's face with icons from Batman to Hitler, shining a "light on the absurdity of Trump's presidential campaign." (Chicago's Degenerate Gallery launches an exhibition dedicated to Thomas' Trumps April 1.)
But the piece that most captured our attention was this mural in London, a detail-oriented black-and-white portrait created by an anonymous artist… just so he could egg it.
Dinks, dinks, dinks
Trump tells genitalia jokes, but can he take one? Googling for Trump-inspired art is like being a girl on Tinder (or one of Trump's own Twitter followers), it's a Pandora's Box of unwanted penis pics.
One Canadian artist living in New York, Soraya Doolbaz, was actually inspired by the crotch selfies sent to her on dating sites, and turns them into art — or "Dictures," as she calls them. Trump is just one of her subjects, dressed up — complete with toupee — in doll clothes. Another collage, by Tumblr blogger homopower, is an elaborate photo mosaic of Trump, made from a similar pile of photos.
We are not including photos of either, because this isn't Snapchat. But we will remind you of a very popular app that could inspire you to create your very own Trump portrait in this popular tradition. It's called Paint With Donald Trump. Use it to draw anything you like, using a paint-brush of Trump's own mug.
Popular now in arts
- 4 reading nowVideo
These Vancouver photographers have been documenting Main Street since 2011 — and it's disappearing
- 2 reading nowTHE FILMMAKERS
History in the (film)making: Zacharias Kunuk and Natar Ungalaaq on the legacy of 'Atanarjuat'
- 1 reading nowTHE FILMMAKERS
Why 'Atanarjuat' is widely considered one of the best — and most important — Canadian films
- 1 reading nowCANADIAN FILM DAY
'Nothing but trouble': An emerging filmmaker celebrates Denis Côté's fearless 'Vic + Flo'
- 1 reading now
Iceberg Alley: St. John's coolest concert venue is a big blue tent