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see UBU TRUMP

see PAINTINGS. at green gallery, milwauke, 2018


“Make America Great Again”

Trump Drawings, Trump paintings, Trump objects

The election of Donald Trump took many people by surprise and has resulted since in a remarkable tectonic shift to the right of the political and ideological landscape. Racism, xenophobia, nationalism and even Nazism and anti-Semitism are now daily topics on mainstream news outlets after Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist demonstrations that remind us of Germany in 1933, complete with torch burning and swastika displays in university cities. The first Nazi rallies in Germany ended “only” in book burnings, but in Charlottesville, the Alt Right demonstration ended with a Nazi motorist mowing through a crowd of protesters, resulting in many injuries and the death of white protester, Heather Heyer. Post mortem, the KKK paper Daily Stormer desecrated the victim as a "fat, childless 32-year-old slut” and a “child murderer"  because they linked her age to abortions. Under these Nazi-esque auspices the newly reinvigorated abortion debate alludes to the reproduction reality of Caucasians in the USA, politicizing demographics and thus replicating belligerent German Nazi ideology that also expected four or more children from any German woman while killing others not considered fit for the Reich. In that sense, the murdered woman was also called by the same people a “fat, disgusting Communist” who was a “drain on society.” President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” has thus also been rendered as “Make America White Again," and even gives his “big, beautiful wall” between Mexico and the US a new dimension. 

Trump’s promising slogan in combination with his divisive, vicious, rude, sexist and racist comments were music in the ears of disenfranchised white voters who struggled to maintain their idea of middle-class life. His “tell it like it is” strategy was perceived as authentic, anti-establishment, underdog, anti-Washington and anti-PC and pushed political speech to its limits, often crossing over into hate speech, threats and even illegality when it comes to division of power and the sanctioning of violence. No discussions, knowledge or analysis mattered – things the former reality TV star mocks – but false accusations and false equivalencies in combination with impossible promises became the elixir of Trump's success. In fact, his spin proved so successful that it buttressed him from all rational argumentation, rendering all opposing media into fake news. So far his entire presidency could be considered fake news had it not lost any of its critical qualities due to the inflationary appropriation by Trump himself.

Given the uneasy but clear comparisons, I began a series of drawings using the typeface Wallau, created in 1930 by Rudolf Koch, who was known for his Nazi ideology. Wikipedia quotes Koch, who passed away in 1935, with language that resonates with the current president: "Known also for his nationalistic ideology, he wrote in Der Deutsche, 'Even as a boy I wanted to become a proper real German. I hated anything that was foreign, and even as I was growing up I felt this was a sign of true loyalty.'" Loyalty, regardless of competence, has also been the main criterion of the current administration. 

For a show at Green Gallery in Milwaukee entitled “Make America Great Again,” I rendered these texts on acrylic paint on canvas. Some of the phrases are understood by themselves, others need contextualization. Since we forget the circumstances of utterance the way we have probably forgot – for example - Bush’s term “Freedom fries," I will list explain each briefly below. This will last as long as Donald Trump is in office and he continues to speak or tweet "remarkable” things that create a shorthand archive of his ideological, political and procedural steps.   

type face / font : Wallau, created 1930 by Rudolf Koch, who was known for his nationalist tendencies - though he died already in 1935 ie. before Naziism was in full gear. WIKIPEDIA has


Make America Great Again
Donald Trump’s main election slogan.

 

Sad!
A common word used at the end of disparaging tweets.

 

Nasty Woman
During this presidential debate, Trump interrupted Hillary Clinton with this idiom of hatred.

 

Fake News 
During the presidential campaign, social media was flooded with damaging news stories that were simply fake and baseless, including one about Clinton supporters supposedly enslaving children for sex in a pizzeria. Trump who was mostly benefitting from these fake news reports, which originated largely in Eastern Europe, himself has often perpetuated untruths, such as allegations that Obama wasn't born in the US. Soon after his inauguration he systematically equated critical news reporting with fake news. 

 

Trumputin 2016 ​
My own combination of Trump and Putin sounds like the name Rasputin, the charlatan healer who helped destroy the Russian empire with intrigue, romance and the engineering of political influence. The word reflects the unusual dealings between Trump’s family and Russia that launched a congressional investigaton of wrongdoing after Russia successfully intervened in the American election in favor of Trump. 

 

Alternative Facts
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway coined this term while trying to justify Trump's counter-factual insistence that his inauguration crowd was bigger than Obama's and the protesters'. 

 

Bad hombres
Trump had many ways to refer to Mexicans, including as rapists and criminals. But during the presidential campaign he used the term ”bad hombres," which made him especially popular with the right. 

 

A big, beautiful wall
Trump promised to build such a wall along the border with Mexico and it was to be paid entirely by Mexico. His anti-immigraton position was best captured with the often entertainting surreal depiction of this wall, which  got him lots of attention. 

 

Extreme vetting
Trump used this term to describe his xenophobic immigration politics.

 

Muslim ban
Trump not only talked about “banning Muslims” from coming to the USA during the campaign, but also tried to implement it through his executive powers. At the time of writing, these efforts to radically ban people from Muslim majority countries are still in court. 

 

ICE
U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement. This agency, a nightmare institution in immigrant communities, was barely known by its acronym before the election of Donald Trump. Today they are trying to pick up undocumented immigrants wherever they can.

 

The enemy of the people
Trump used this expression to denounce the media. It is a term that dates back to the French revolution and was used to accuse anybody who opposed the revolution. It was also a commonly used Soviet Union accusation. 

 

 

collusion

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Witch-hunt
This term was also thrown at special prosecutor Robert Muller's investigation, referring to a very sinister historical reality.

 

So-called judge
After a ruling to the dislike of Donald Trump by an American judge of Mexican decent the president refered to him as a “so-called judge," undermining the legitimacy of the country’s legal system as well as the questioning the independence of any judge with a non-caucasian ethnic background.

 

Mother of All Bombs
President Trump deployed the most powerful bomb of the US military arsenal – a non-nuclear bomb nicknamed MOAB - over a Syrian city ruled by ISIS, ignoring the danger to the hostage-taken civilian population.

 

Fire and fury
North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental missile, which led to Trump's warning that the USA would respond to any attack with “fire and fury,” an improvised, non-scripted phrase.  He ended with the less poetic threat that the rogue state would meet with “power the likes of which this world has never seen before." This set all sides on high alert and made nuclear warfare appear distinctly possible.

 

Son of a bitch

In September 2017, NFL players protested police shootings of unarmed black men by skneeling on the ground during the National Anthem. Some held up fists associated with the Black Panther movement and the protests by black athletes at the Mexico City Olympics of 1968. At one point Trump referred to one of them saying, "Get that son of a bitch off the field."

 

Alt Left
The white supremacist march in the university town of Charlottesville in August 2017 displayed and chanted messages of hatred, xenophobia and racism. A counter protest was formed, which Trump falsely and misleadingly called the Alt Left, equating them with the radicalism of the extreme right. This is remarkable considering that a right-wing extremist drove a car into the counter-protesters and killed a woman.

 

on many sides
The car that rammed into peaceful counter-demonstrators to the provocative march of the Alt Right, KKK and neo-Nazis left scores of badly injured people as well as one death. For Trump the responsibility for these hate crimes is to be blamed “on many sides." He also added that there were “very fine people on both sides.”  The Alt Right extremists were burning torches, displaying swastikas and thus directly quoting the 1930s marches of Nazi Germany. 

 

Rocket Man
On September 15, 2017, the North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un successfully launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially reach the United State. A few days later, Trump said to the UN: "Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime."

 

The total destruction of North Korea
At the same UN assembly, President Trump warned, in a remarkable rhetorical escalation, of the "total destruction of North Korea" if its ballistic missile and nuclear programs don't stop.

 

 

I too have a Nuclear Button but it is much
&
a more powerful

In January 2018, president Trump notified the world via Twitter that he is ready and willing to resort to nuclear arms in the conflict with North Korea.

 

 

chain migration
During the ongoing discussion about immigration to the USA, Trump mischaracterized certain types of immigration as “chain migration.”  During his State of the Union address 2018, the president false stated publicly "Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives,"

 

 

shithole countries

On January 11th, 2018, Trump derides El Salvador, Haiti and all African countries as "Shithole countries" during an official meeting about immigration at the White House with various lawmakers. According to people present the president of the United States asked the question "“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” 
S

all drawings are pencil on paper, 11 x 14 inches, made in the year of utterance, from 2016 on

 

Stormy Daniels

 

 

 

PAINTINGS

green gallery, milwaukee

For my exhibition on Green gallery in Milwaukee shortly after Trump's inauguration in 2017, I casted, with the help of locals, three defunct wooden molds in aluminum that were once in use by the bygone Wisconsin casting industry. Regarding their former functionality these molds are partially enigmatic. These Make America Great Again objects retell a past history while looking forward to a new life as fine art objects. Reflecting the demand and price structure, I opted for an aluminum cast but they also could be brought to life in bronze.

My small budget also determined the rendering of another work entitled "Make America Great Again" - a big, beautiful wall. The location of Green Gallery was a former gas station placed at an intersection with access from two sides. At that time, Trump’s administration invited companies to provide proposals for his xenophobic wall. Hence, I proposed a wall around the premise of the gallery with bricks that were for sale from a former Pabst beer brewery that had relocated for economic reasons, leaving many people out of work. The bricks were too expensive to purchase and even too costly for rental since transportation costs alone where in the thousands. Therefore I contented with a photo montage, an email from the brick distributor with a quote over $2,500 and a letter of request for payment indented to be sent to the Mexican consulate adjacent to the gallery.

 

 rprise and has resulted since in a remarkable tectonic shift to the right of the political and ideological landscape. Racism, xenophobia, nationalism and even Nazism and anti-Semitism are now daily topics on mainstream news outlets after Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist demonstrations that remind us of Germany in 1933, complete with torch burning and swastika displays in university cities. The first Nazi rallies in Germany ended “only” in book burnings, but in Charlottesville, the Alt Right demonstration ended with a Nazi motorist mowing through a crowd of protesters, resulting in many injuries and the death of white protester, Heather Heyer. Post mortem, the KKK paper Daily Stormer desecrated the victim as a "fat, childless 32-year-old slut” and a “child murderer"  because they linked her age to abortions. Under these Nazi-esque auspices the newly reinvigorated abortion debate alludes to the reproduction reality of Caucasians in the USA, politicizing demographics and thus replicating belligerent German Nazi ideology that also expected four or more children from any German woman while killing others not considered fit for the Reich. In that sense, the murdered woman was also called by the same people a “fat, disgusting Communist” who was a “drain on society.” President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” has thus also been rendered as “Make America White Again," and even gives his “big, beautiful wall” between Mexico and the US a new dimension. 

 

 

 

Sad!, 2017, flag flown at Surf Lodge, Montauk, 50 x 100 cm