"At least the art will be good."
It's a silver lining prediction I've heard from several folks about the next four years of pop culture in America. What started as a halfway-joking refrain is becoming a more serious forecast as we near the Trump Presidency.
Art that challenges the status quo, disrupts deeply entrenched institutions and shines a light on systematic injustice has always come hand-in-hand with social and political movements. As Nina Simone once said, "How can you be an artist and not reflect the times?"
The moment to reflect the times is upon us.
With 3 days left to go until Inauguration Day - followed by the highly anticipated Women's March on Washington - here are some highlights of protest art (especially of the feminist strain).
WE THE PEOPLE.
Eight years ago, artist Shepard Fairey made the iconic "HOPE" image for Obama's presidential campaign. Now, he's working with artists like Jessica Sabogal and Ernesto Yerena to create new symbols of optimism with the "We The People" campaign on Kickstarter. The guerilla-style project now offers free downloads of hi-res prints from an open call for artwork. And it's also hacking the Inauguration by taking out full-page "ads" of the artwork in The Washington Post, so that people can carry them out onto the streets.
Some friends from creative agency 72andSunny started The Uproar, a website that offers free and downloadable designs to protest a variety of issues.
RISE UP THY YOUNG BLOOD.
Los Angeles-based artist Illma Gore is no stranger to controversy. Her "Make America Great Again" illustration shows a naked Donald Trump with a little penis, stating, "You can be a massive prick, despite what is in your pants." Her team-up with the West Coast artist-activist collective INDECLINE, called "The Emperor Has No Balls," involved a series of statues depicting a naked Donald Trump (again, with a micro-penis) in New York, San Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle and L.A. Her latest stunt was using human blood to paint an anti-Trump mural with an American flag theme, called "Rise Up Thy Young Blood."
FIRST 100 DAYS.
Daily arts radio station KQED in the Bay Area is launching a new series, "First 100 Days: Art in the Age of Trump," to highlight the responses of artists and other creatives during the first hundred days of Trump’s administration. Coverage will take a variety of formats, including audio, video, photo and written pieces by the editorial team.
NASTY WOMEN EXHIBITION.
The "Nasty Women" group art show at the Knockdown Center in Queens, NY featured 700 artworks, priced at $100 or less. All $42,000 raised from their sales went to Planned Parenthood.
#J20 ART STRIKE.
The message from this group of artist-activists is simple: shutdown cultural institutions on January 20 to “combat the normalization of Trumpism."
#J20 Art Strike
An Act of Noncompliance on Inauguration Day.
No Work, No School, No Business.
Museums. Galleries. Theaters. Concert Halls. Studios. Nonprofits. Art Schools.
Close For The Day.
Hit The Streets. Bring Your Friends. Fight Back.