I have been reading different reactions to these statues of a naked Donald Trump that have popped up in cities around America, and it seems that most people find them somewhat distasteful. There’s also the “imagine if someone did this to Hillary…” trope. Some people say that while Trump may have it coming, that we shouldn’t stoop to the level of “body shaming,” etc. The statues are from the art group INDECLINE.
I look at it in the context of protest art. Sure, the statues may be in poor taste, offensive to look at or humiliating. But let’s not forget that this is a man who has slandered the president as the founder of America’s most hated terrorist enemy, as well as not so subtly suggested that people shoot his opponent. These are just the recent examples of the type of garbage that has come from Trump’s mouth, and don’t begin to demonstrate the types of things he has said and done to shame and mock other people.
So, it’s not surprising to me that an artist or group of artists might go to extremes in desecrating Trump’s image. To quote Cesar A. Cruz, “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” The time for politeness regarding Trump is long gone.
And comparing it to someone doing the same to Hillary is bogus. Like her policies or not, Hillary Clinton has not gone out of her way to insult and degrade a multitude of people across the nation. So, yes, if someone did the same to Hillary, it would be seen as going too far, and with good reason. It’s just not the same with Trump.
As a general rule of thumb, when talking about how people relate to one another, “when they go low, we go high” should be the approach. We should try our best to not stoop to the level of someone like Trump. But when it comes to art, I think all bets are off. I don’t see this the same way I would see someone sending out private pics of Trump to humiliate him, for example.
Donald Trump has taken a no-holds barred approach to his campaign. He speaks his mind. He says what he means. He’s not “politically correct” Let’s not expect the opposite from artists making a statement about him.