It is difficult to know how to caricature a man who is already doing a very good job of that by himself, a man who seems beyond parody. Yet, in the lead up to the 2016 US presidential election, the art world has seen some excellent depictions of Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. Here are my Top Trumps…
In at number one, is the artwork which has provoked a huge, international reaction: Illma Gore’s pastel drawing, ‘Make America Great Again’. The piece shows Donald Trump, naked, leaning on one leg and revealing a very small penis. The LA-based artist could not find a US gallery who would house the piece due to fear of how Trump’s supporters would react, so it is on offer at The Maddox Street Gallery in Mayfair for £1million.
Since creating the work, Gore has received thousands of death and rape threats, as well as stalkers outside her home. She claims this piece is a comment on the importance we place on physicality, suggesting, “Your genitals do not define your gender, your power, or your status. Simply put, you can be a massive prick, despite what is in your pants.” I couldn’t have put it better myself. The artist will donate her fee for the work to Safe Place For Youth, an LA based charity for homeless people.
Number two has to be Sarah Levy’s ‘#BloodyTrump’, a grotesque portrait of Donald Trump created using the artist’s menstrual blood, a tampon and a paintbrush (after all, you can’t always rely on a tampon to make the best marks). Levy’s painting seems to be the perfect reaction to Trump’s outrageous and continually sexist remarks: “"You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever"; “Like you wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful”; “You know, it doesn’t really matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass”; “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” etc. Levy’s aim is to auction off ‘#BloodyTrump’ and give the proceeds to a charity that helps Mexican immigrants in America: “because ol’ Don would hate that.”
Number three… If you thought painting with blood was ‘a bit much’, then what about Andrew Kong Knight’s piece created using real bull manure? Donald Trump here is depicted in the style of a Nazi propaganda image, doing a Hitler salute, clutching dollar bills, with shafts of light illuminating him. The bull manure spews out of Trump’s mouth, into a pile in the foreground. In his statement, Kong Knight said of the hundreds of portraits he has ever created, “this one is indeed the ugliest… it's a reaction to what I've seen and felt over the last few months.”
My final Top Trumps include: a fake tombstone erected in Central Park with Donald Trump’s name and date of birth on it, as well as the epitaph "Make America Hate Again”; a mural by New York street artist, Hanksy, which shows Donald Trump illustrated as “…a piece of shit” and YouTube artist Davison’s painting ‘A boob, painted by a boob’, which speaks for itself.
Though some of the consequences of creating these works are distressing, it is reassuring to know that there are still artists working to disturb politics and provoke reactions. It is reassuring to know that there are galleries taking risks by housing art which stands for something and, finally, it is most reassuring to know that we can all stop spending so much money on acrylic paints and turn instead to our own bodily fluids.