Friday 09th December 2016Is Trump's Time Photograph Subversive Art?
So it looks like the world is going to have to come to terms with the presidency of Donald Trump, of all people. What once seemed like a joke (in fact, the TV show The Simpsons made just such a joke over a decade ago) has become the reality, and while that raises all kinds of postmodern questions about the nature of life imitating art, it's also a grim political reality.
Thanks in large part to his presidency, Trump recently graced the front cover of Time magazine as the Person of the Year. Before this becomes too outrageous, remember that 'Person of the Year' doesn't come with the word 'best' attached, it merely reflects influence - for example, Hitler was also a Man of the Year with a Time magazine cover, as were Stalin and Ayatollah Khomeini.
Time's specific definition of the criterion for choosing their Person of the Year is simply "the person who had the greatest influence, for better or worse, on the events of the year.” Their feelings about Trump may very well be coded into the photograph.
Strangely enough, the fact that the letter M in Time happens to place the two peaks just above Trump's head seems to have been only mentioned in passing, perhaps due to the crudity of the reference or its blatancy, but it does rather look like someone has drawn devil horns over his portrait.
The rest of the analysis is far more indepth, however, even breaking the image down so completely that they read into the fact that there is a slight cracking of the upholstery in one place, which seems a rather ridiculous point to make.
The primary features of the critique involve the colour reproduction, which mimics old Kodachrome film, calling up feelings of antiquity and a return to the past. There's also his odd pose, looking back over his shoulder into the camera with an air of disdain - it's not usually polite to sit with your back to someone. Finally, there's the chair itself, which is a classic Louis XV chair design - and for those of you who aren't history buffs, the reign of Louis XV was hardly a well-managed one.
It's an interesting theory that probably comes a fair bit closer to fact. The photographer, Nadav Kander, has undoubtedly hidden some commentary in his cover piece, so be sure to read the full theory on Forward.
Posted on December 09th 2016 on 02:54pm
Wednesday 09th November 2016Dump Trump
What is it with artists and toilets?
From the days of Marcel Duchamp and his infamous urinal installation, many conceptual artists seem to feel like a toilet is an original means of expression. While a toilet is arguably a means of expression, it's rarely one that most people would associate with artistic expression.
Of course, we've covered a number of toilet installations in the past partly due to their hilarity factor, but this latest one sort of verges on the surreal. Just days before the upcoming US presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a toilet covered in a wide range of anti-Trump rhetoric with the words 'Dump on Trump' was left outside the back door of the American Visionary Art Museum.
The Museum is currently treating it as an artistic donation, and has yet to dispose of the "piece" in the hopes that the artist will come forwards.
Rebecca Hoffberger, the executive director and founder of the AVAM says that this is far from the first piece of donated art they have received, and hilariously enough, it's not even the first - or even the second - toilet that they have received.
The first two were sent in by another artist, Duane Gerald "Shorty" Davis Sr., but neither contained anything close to the kind of rhetoric on the 'Dump Trump' sculpture - or perhaps installation piece? Conceptual specimen? Terminology fails to cover such eventualities.
The AVAM has no plans to destroy the piece, but it may not be put on display without a claim of ownership by the artist, and Davis has disavowed this current piece.
"We totally believe in individual freedom of expression, but we’re also very concerned about anything that could be directed ... on just anger and hate. Because in the long run, I don’t think that solves anything," continues Hoffberger.
Here's hoping that the AVAM keeps the piece and that the artist comes forwards to claim the piece in the horrific event of a Trump victory - or even in the case of a Clinton victory, as a memory of just how close the country came to jumping the shark.
Posted on November 09th 2016 on 08:03pm