Collected and curated by Anthony Rotolo, a former professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trumpmania, is a travelling art exhibition of cultural artifacts inspired by Donald Trump and his campaign to become the President of the United States. The collection includes digital and physical assets from Trump’s own products, media appearances, and presidential campaign to the many works of art, parody, and merchandising that have been produced in response to Trump over his career.
Earlier displayed in Syracuse and NYC, the road show was originally scheduled for just one evening, April 18th, at the Art Museum of Rochester on Monroe Avenue (near Gitsis Texas Hots), but was held over for a few weeks. Now Anthony and TRUMPMANIA™ are back on the campaign trail for rallies to be announced.
Like the Trumprenuers at the Rochester Airport, everything is for sale. While the impetus behind the exhibit — a non-partisan project of the the American Pop Culture Institute — is educational, Anthony — not unlike the Donald himself — isn’t against a little capitalism. See the store and the the online auction for artwork and other items.As we surveyed the exhibit, I wondered how many of the artists were actively anti-Trump. Anthony explained that the artists, whose works come from around the globe, are both for and against Trump’s platform:
I have artists who are from places that some of Donald Trump’s comments about, for example immigrants and Muslims, have caused anger and fear, and therefore the artistic reaction is heavily critical of Donald Trump. Then you have Americans who see Donald Trump as a great hope. And those folks are artistically depicting Trump almost in the vein of a Ronald Reagan or an Abraham Lincoln. So he really has sparked a full spectrum of emotions.
Anthony guessed that about half the artists clearly opposed Trump; while about 30% were open and about 20% were supporters.
Of the viewers, the majority, especially at the NYC event, probably came for the satirical and pointedly critical representations.
Many enjoyed putting thumb prints in a specially designed “hands on” painting of Trump’s face.
I asked Anthony if Trump swung by the exhibit, would he make a purchase? Actually, Anthony did reach out to the Trump campaign with no response yet. We guessed Trump would go all out in favor of the new coins proposed under his Administration. Hmm, maybe it was Don who already bought the artwork.
Portland artist Sarah Levy was able to paint a portrait of Donald Trump using her menstrual blood. The creation of her bloody Trump portrait, titled Whatever, followed comments Trump had made back in August regarding Fox news anchor, Megyn Kelly, saying “[That] you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes … blood coming out of her wherever.” Suggesting Kelly was being hormonal and on her period while mediating the debate.
On Levy’s work, Anthony says:
Sarah’s piece was one of the very first I knew I wanted in the show. The inspiration she had when hearing Donald Trump’s comments…prompted her to take a very traditional art form and symbolically use her menstrual blood to paint Trump’s image in a way that I thought would really provoke people to think about a very specific issue.
Displayed in Rochester on the eve of the New York primary, the road show provided a historical snapshot of where Trump’s campaign has been — and where it might lead.
In Jim Warren’s “Donald Trump’s Grand Entrance,” we see the other candidates who faded both quickly and recently: Perry, Paul, Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Cruz and Kasich.
In Tom Cracknell’s piece, we see Trump’s skirmish with the Pope that now seems eons ago.
In Onno Lolkema’s “Hush Little Baby, we see the once front runner now long gone, Jeb “Low Energy” Bush.
Ben Garrison’s “The Trump Train,” captures Trump’s Super Tuesday victories that helped derail Cruz.
In Anthony’s “The Firing of Romney,” we see “Sore Loser” Romney falling like Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Burr.
As Anthony is an expert in social media, I also asked how media political historians will view the Twitter Election of 2016.
First, we looked back to the advent of television. I expected Anthony would point to the 1960 Nixon/Kennedy televised debates as marking a watershed moment. Actually, Anthony thinks print media still was the most powerful election influence in the 60s and early 70s. He sees Carter/Ford in 1976 as the moment when tv fully took the mantle of influence.
As for social or online media vs tv campaigns, we saw the first glimmerings in 2000. I remember first getting into the internet when following the Florida recount hour by hour. In 2004, Howard Dean’s failed campaign first used social media on a large scale. In 2008 and 2012, Obama’ s campaign deftly exploited social media. But 2016 the ascendency of the social media election campaigns is in full force.
As with all art, one question is, what will become of Trumpmania? Will these early examples of the genre only appreciate in value or be relegated to the dustbin of art history? Sure we won’t ever see something on the scale of Jacques-Louis David. Maybe something in the vein of Édouard Manet. Depends on Hillary’s steel thighs.
As with all art, one question is, what will become of Trumpmania? Will these early examples of the genre only appreciate in value or be relegated to the dustbin of art history? Sure we won’t ever see something on the scale of Jacques-Louis David. Maybe something in the vein of Édouard Manet. Depends on Hillary’s steel thighs.MUCH MORE ON TRUMP