A Trumprenuer on the road at Trumpmania

A Trumprenuer on the road at Trumpmania

On the left, Anthony in a Commie shirt: “I’ll trade you Athesia’s Cruz gold standard propaganda sign for the coins. And throw in all the Bernie goodies I got at HQ on the corner of Culver and Parcells.” Art Museum of Rochester 4/18/16

Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers

At the Donald Trump rally, Jessica Rowe from Scottsville with her new hat. Scottsville Road, 4/10/16 from Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers

The Donald continues unabated, but TRUMPMANIA™ — “the unofficial, pre-Presidential Library of Donald J. Trump” — was only in Rochester for a short time.images37BEV6Z6


“One of the most popular items at the Trumpmania exhibit opening was the “Commie 2016″ shirt, done in the style of a certain socialist Senator.” Anthony added that the shirts were bought by both Bernie supporters and detractors

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.


Now that Cruz is toast, the beautiful propaganda sign made by Athesia is for sale. From Talker interviewed by Channel 8. Knowledgeable supporters back Cruz’s gold standard

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 Do


The April 18th opening at the Art Museum of Rochester [Photo: Anthony Rotolo]

nald 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.

coins sold

DONALD TRUMP $1 Million Dollar Coin by Isaac Budmen

Anthony guessed that about half the artists clearly opposed Trump; while about 30% were open and about 20% were supporters.

jason Mercier's collage

collage by Jason Mecier. “With a variety of familiar items, from coins and phones to a hairspray can, Mecier has crafted the unmistakable likeness of The Donald.”


“Whatever” by Sarah Levy see Image: #BloodyTrump

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.

One of the most striking pieces is Sarah Levy‘s “Whatever.” As described by Pia Araneta:

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.

Donald Trump's Grand Entrance by Jim Warren

“Donald Trump’s Grand Entrance” by Jim Warren

trump pope

“Trump vs. Pope” by Tom Cracknell

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.


“Hush Little Baby” by Onno Lolkema (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

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.

ben garrison

“Political cartoonist Ben Garrison ‘s work continues a great American tradition of cartoon commentary dating back to the earliest newspapers and pamphlets in the United States. Garrison, who resides in Montana, beautifully and gleefully illustrates the rise of Trump populism over the Republican Party establishment.”

trump shooting romney

“Donald Trump said Mitt Romney was a ‘failed candidate’ who “choked horribly” in the 2012 Election. Romney has called The Donald a ‘fraud’ and a “con man.” Once upon a time, disputes between politicians were settled with a duel. Today, shots are fired on Twitter.” Donald Trump Art Print, “The Firing of Romney,” Stretched Canvas, Signed by Anthony Rotolo

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.

nap crowning

Napoleon Crowning Himself. Jacques-Louis David 1807


Édouard Manet, L’exécution de Maximilien (1867), oil on canvas, Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek, Copenhagen

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.

March 1990 Playboy featuring Trump. Hey, Playboy is as American as the Red, White and Blue. Bernie Boy seeking Strumpet girl to snuggle with during the G.O.P. Convention [Photo: Anthony Rotolo, 4/18/16]


The electoral year in review. Getting Trumped.

RIT’s John Roche offers “Orange Golem” and “Trumped.” And the Donald’s parting shots.

Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers

“The Agony of the GOP” The Cow Palace, July 1964

On seeing my first Trump supporters outside the Bug Jar

“I would sooner vote for Josef Stalin” — Max Boot, 2016; “I foresee very lively election campaigns” — Josef Stalin, 1936 “I foresee very lively election campaigns” — Josef Stalin, 1936

The 180th Anniversary of the Alamo and Trump’s Wall with Dr. Josue Ramirez

Remember, the Italians voted for Mussolini. And what Europeans are saying about Trump

G.O.P. Fears What’s Next If Trump Can’t Be Stopped — New York Times, February 25th, 2016

If Donald Trump becomes a footnote in political history, he will become William Randolph Hearst. And maybe Bernie Sanders is William Jennings Bryan

Why Peter Wehner will not have to not vote for Trump

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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