A friend on Facebook shared this article about an artist’s rendering of Donald Trump: it’s a statue of him in his birthday suit. I’ll spare you the images, but here’s the article source I’ve chosen to use (rather thsn the one my friend shared) with an excerpt:
Five identical statues of a nude Donald Trump have appeared overnight on street corners in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, and New York City.
The Washington Post reports that the anarchist collective INDECLINE is responsible for the statues, and are calling this project “The Emperor Has No Balls.” The name is ostensibly a reference to the famous fairytale “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” in which a narcissistic emperor gets conned into strolling amongst his people in the nude. Mr. Robot fans might liken the stunt to the one pulled by the show’s anti-capitalist fsociety, who symbolically removed the testicles from the iconic Wall Street bull statue.
An anonymous spokesperson from INDECLINE told the Post, “like it or not, Trump is a larger-than-life figure in world culture at the moment. Looking back in history, that’s how those figures were memorialized and idolized in their time — with statues.”
The question came up the particular article she shared and in other places on my friend’s FB as to whether or not it’s body shaming.
Nope. Not even remotely. It’s shaming him, all right, but it’s shaming his behavior, attitudes, personality, and proclaimed beliefs. According to the artist/s as we can see from the project’s name, it’s 100% politically motivated, and it’s not necessarily intended to be unifying. 😶
We know what it means when we say that someone “has no balls.” Not all art is Deep Thought, after all.Other interpretations and how people feel about artistic renderings is something else entirely.
Many people are under the false impression that art is supposed to be happy, joyful, touchy-feely, feel good stuff that’s colorful, pretty, aesthetically pleasing, and non-controversial. Many people seem to think that art is supposed to be an expression of one’s inner soul, one’s inner beauty, and an expression of the great ideals of our inner and outer worlds.
That when we spark creativity in our children, it must always come out positively, sparkly, colorfully, joyfully, happily, beautifully. When our children express themselves in their art showing sadness, anger, and other emotions and thoughts that we find uncomfortable to deal with we stifle them.
We don’t teach our children (or anyone) that art isn’t supposed to please everyone. We don’t teach them that:
- Art can be offensive
- Art can be ugly
- Art can be messy
- Art can be crass
- Art can be ballsy
- Art can be ungraceful
- Art can be hateful
- Art can be sad
- Art can be morbid
- Art can be inept
- Art can be prickly
- Art can be void of color and sparkles and glitter
- Art can be disorganized
- Art can be more honest than you want it to be
- Art can be undiplomatic
- Art can be political
- Art can be uncomplimentary
- Art can be distasteful
- Art can be uncomfortable
- Art is a device for communicating things in a way that words are inadequate for expressing
- Art is a device for instigating discussion and different ways of thinking versus the echo chambers we become so used to being in
It’s a fantastical political statement, which of course art has done for centuries. Art has a way of humbling the individuals, its subject matter, in a way that no other representation can manage. It’s not the first time that art has stripped an individual down completely in such a manner, in such a statement as already mentioned in the article that I chose to share. As an artist, I think that it’s important to allow and view any artist’s impression of ANY public figures, as art is part of our freedom of expression ie. freedom of speech. It’s protected.
I find the statues to be crass and ugly, but I think it was wrong to deface them while removing them from immediate public view. They could have been safely removed and privately housed.
This group, INDECLINE, intended this to be a political statement targeting D. Trump, and for it to hit below the belt, but it’s serving other purposes.On top of the political statement that was intended, people are remembering how to be silly.
We all take ourselves so seriously during the election seasons, and we all hold so fast to our opinions and our candidates that we forget to laugh sometimes. We forget to strip the candidates bare, including our own chosen candidates.
These statues stripped Trump bare politically and “literally” in a figurative representation of his birthday suit (let me point out quickly that I know something that’s figurative can’t be literal).
It’s stripping Trump bare without the brass, hype, fandom, bank notes, gold-plated everything, or the noise that bursts from his face; without the pomp and circumstance and finely tailored clothes, he’s just a typical pudgy 70 year old man with a cranky face and intimidating posturing.
Do I think D.Trump literally looks like that under his clothes? Do I think about what he specifically looks like? Do you care what I think about that? 😂 I’ve no clue and I never took time to think about it until now. I’ve always wondered why women found him attractive, but different women find all kinds of men attractive… and with him I always figured that his perceived power and his money came into play. 😉
What I think regarding how INDECLINE chose this representation is: They found an average 70 year old man and used him as their model for the body of the statue.
I’m not talking about the average fit 70 year old movie star that works out with a trainer at the gym and a nutritionist, and looks dashing in a bathing suit and people comment on how he looks 15 years younger… such as Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot. They aren’t your average 70-something year old men, and it’s safe to say that they ie. someone who looks like them wouldn’t have been his body double models for the statue.
In reality, Stephen Root (yes, granted, he’s only 64 years old but I thought he was a little older) is likely a far more accurate representation and and much more similar to the model that was used. That’s practicality. That’s having sat in several college art classes in which I had to draw from a real life aging nude male model.
And why? Why that pudgy representation in addition to the small balls? Because apart from swimming in a pool of bank notes, can you really picture D. Trump working out in a gym? Even if it’s one he had built in one of his homes?
I think it’s more realistic that the only time he sweats is when he’s lying (as he stands) underneath the lights of the cameras. And that the reason his suits, expensive and tailored as they may be, are a little too big and ill-fitting in order to hide the fact that he’s no Sam Elliot underneath. As someone who used to be thin, and then hovered around 280 lbs for far too long and is only now back below 200 lbs, I know the tricks to hide weight that I’m ashamed to have.
Or perhaps he’s lost weight and really is just too cheap to buy a new suit or have his current ones tailored.
I know I’ve said multiple times in my blog that I find him to be vile for things he’s said and done, and I’ll admit straight out that the ugliness I believe to be in his soul (if he has one) affects my visual perception of him apart from the bright orange skin and questionable squirrely hair.
The fact that the statues were damned orange and included his iconic hair, real or toupee, is exaggerated and made the statues’ identity undoubtedly recognizable to the entire world even if nothing else about those statues can?
That’s funny because the statues are 3-D caricatures, which happened to have been crassly naked. Caricatures are a worldwide phenomenon, and they’re traditionally funny. We got to fairs and circuses and carnivals where there are artist vendors who’ll do your caricature for $5 as a keepsake. We laugh at them, because they capture the parts of us that are most recognizable, even that parts we might not want to be so recognizable. They’re also traditionally used in political cartoons, which are hardly ever flattering (that’s being kind). It’s not such a huge jump for someone to sculpt one.
Please note… I’m not remarking at all about my personal unbiased opinion is about his physical appearance as a human being because a person can’t help the genetics they’re born with. I think to do so is an ugly thing. The rest is fair game. That’s the point of the statues. They’re not about his outward appearance.
That means that any artist anywhere has a lot to work with.