This America: The Era of a Divided Country

This America: The Era of a Divided Country

Robbert Roos book review, This Is AmericaStatue –

Actually strange. Four years into the presidency, Donald Trump barely appears in the artwork. Sure, there are an unbelievable number of cartoons, memes and videos on the Internet in which Trump appears. But it is clearly absent in the formal visual arts, which are traded in museums and galleries.

However, he is white elephant In conversations about art, Robert Ross noticed last year as he trekking through museums, galleries, artists, and curators of the United States.

“We wanted things like”Damn Trump“Avoid,” says Evan Walsh, one of the driving forces behind the Freedom Activist platform. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, For Freedom created hundreds of billboards designed by artists. “Damn Trump, It wasn’t possible: “We wanted something interesting. With a nuance.”

Ross’s journey led from the east to the west coast, through the north and then back across the south, passing through many of the country’s large cities. Treat impressions and encounters in a book and gallery, This is America – the art of the USA today At Kunsthal Kade in Amersfoort, where Roos works as a director.

Due to the current shutdown, the gallery should have closed prematurely this week. An extension was out of the question, mainly because it raised problems for next year’s program.

A polarized country

Ross’s road trip sounds like an era picture of a polarized country both politically and socially, although the contradictions of course ended with Biden’s election. Most of the artists he met on his trip talk about issues like immigration, black lives matter, and rights American Indians And LGBTQs.

A well-known artist from the official artistic community is keen to address the Trump issue. Andres Serrano, who is also not shy about confrontation in the rest of his work, installed objects, features, magazines, and gadgets bearing Trump’s face, name, logo, or signature. Serrano spent a year researching eBay and purchasing over a thousand items, from Maga hats to signed coloring books, stuffed animals and neckties. Oddly enough, Trump also signed an American flag and a photo of Hillary Clinton on the cover of a Newsweek special entitled Mrs. President. Trump’s signature, in retaliation, has been placed on Clinton’s face at the feet of aggressive roosters. If everything is real, of course, because it’s not entirely clear how true all Serrano equipment is.

Serrano describes his work as uncomfortable, but according to the artist, it is also not easy to enter the morgue and tattoo the dead, as he did for a world-famous photo series. Trump became president, according to Serrano, not because he had been campaigning for a few years, but because he had been campaigning his whole life. “Everything develops around him and his vanity. Everything begins and ends with that.”

Socialist Realism

“The art world does not want to touch Donald Trump unless he is extremely important. For me this is boring and vulgar. I don’t want a work that can only be read in one way.”

Most of the artists Ross met in America are politically engaged and some have created social initiatives to help specific groups in society. For example, Gregory Sale started a project with colleagues, also collaborating with Joe Arpaio, who was known for years as’America’s most powerful sheriff.

Most of the artists in the book have a tendency to the left side of the political spectrum, but there are a few exceptions. John McNaughton, who lives near Salt Lake City, is a fanatical Republican. In his paintings, Donald Trump always appears in a heroic role, as a resolute captain driving a boat across a swamp in Washington, for example. Or Trump and Melania aboard Harley-Davidson, depicted with stars and stripes, surrounded by applauding supporters. Ironically, McNaughton’s style has been compared to that of Socialist Realism, the official art movement of the Soviet Union.

Robert Ross, this is America. Travelogue for a road trip across the US, 16.50 euros.

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