As the 2020 Presidential election nears, more political art is showing up on the streets. We usually eschew political topics here at Untapped New York (there are plenty of others that specialize in that coverage), but the recent arrival of a big, flashy gold “sculpture” of Trump in a golf cart in Lower Manhattan is hard to ignore from a public space standpoint. This large art installation that was in front of Pier A next to The Battery, along with two other works, are the creation of the Trump Statue Initiative, led by two-time Academy Award nominated writer and Superbowl ad producer, Brian Buckley.
There’s no beating around the bush here. The Trump Statue Initiative and its sculptures are an unequivocal condemnation of the 45th President of the United States. The main work, titled “The Final Push” shows Trump on a golf cart pushed by Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, and a cameraman alongside while the cart crashes through a cemetery. Inscribed on the tombstones is a quote from Trump about the pandemic, “It is what it is.” Another one says “In tragic memory of ‘LOSER.'” All the sculptures have a base that denotes Donald Trump‘s name with the line “destroyer of civil rights and liberties 2016-2020.”
The Trump Statue Initiative tells us, “We are a group of artists working to highlight what we feel are the most defining moments of Trump’s presidency. We have brought our performance pieces to D.C., Portland, and NYC thus far. We have no plans to stop, as long as Trump is president. His fixation on the preservation of the racist Confederate statues and monuments inspired us to create our own, and to invite conversation and creativity. Most importantly, we would like to encourage people to vote, and to encourage other artists to create protest art in any way they see fit.”
Nearby, another statue titled “The Giant vs. the Stealer” shows football player Colin Kaepernick kneeling, and in Midtown the statue “Good Boy, Now Sit” shows Trump holding a Black Lives Matter sign that has bullet holes with Kyle Rittenhouse, the shooter in Kenosha, Wisconsin pointing a gun with empty bullet casings below. Statues in other cities have addressed Trump and his connection with figures like Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin (“An Ode to Putin”), Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell (“I Just Wish Her Well Frankly”) and the controversies relating to the USPS, and more. Reacting quickly t the news cycle, the Trump Statues Initiative put out statues commenting on hot topics within days of their occurrence.
Incredibly, if you didn’t notice yet, these are actually “living performance pieces” not sculptures at all. The Trump Statues Initiative tells us, “They are local actors! Our makeup artist paints them, their wardrobe, and whatever props we are using gold. The platforms they perform on depend on what we are doing, but they are always plywood paneling. We demonstrate for a day, for about 4-6 hours.” Additionally, although the group could not get a permit to do these performances, it contends that they are allowed to demonstrate on the streets by protection of the First Amendment. The performance pieces were live on September 8, 2020.
We’ll leave it at that. More of these works are coming from the Trump Statues Initiative. These so far join the list of flashy political art that have appeared on the streets, including naked Trump and the Trump Zoltar from the 2016 election. In other news, Trump Plaza in Atlantic City will get imploded in January…
This area of New York City is what was once Dutch New Amsterdam and you can read on about when it became New York!