Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
With Donald Trump about to become the Leader of the Free World, the art world has been responding in its own special way.
Leading artists – including Cindy Sherman and Richard Serra – are calling for an ‘art strike’ to coincide with Trump’s inauguration day, but they are far from the only ones acting in response to the Trump ascendancy.
As the Guardian reports, musician and artist Gee Vaucher’s 1989 work Oh America, which depicts a teary Statue of Liberty weeping into her palms, has been recycled into an ‘anti-Trump meme’.
In Madrid, meanwhile, a topless protester identifying with the Femen movement had the bright idea to attack a life-size effigy of the president-elect on display at the city’s Wax Museum. The unnamed woman took hold of the statue’s crotch while reportedly yelling ‘Grab patriarchy by the balls!’ For anyone failing to get the message, the charming missive was helpfully scrawled on her bare back, too.
First prize for anti-Trump art protests, however, can only go to Richard Prince, who this week took the bizarre step of returning a $36,000 payment he initially received for one of his Instagram pictures, which depicts the Donald’s daughter, Ivanka. It’s unclear whether or not Ivanka actually owns the work, but Ms Trump herself has been photographed standing next to it, thanking Prince and voicing her approval.
Not only has Prince refunded the cash, he has also disavowed the work:
This is not my work. I did not make it. I deny. I denounce. This fake art. pic.twitter.com/ouHJmVeF8C
— Richard Prince (@RichardPrince4) January 11, 2017
‘It was just an honest way for me to protest,’ said Prince by way of explanation. ‘It was a way of deciding what’s right and wrong. And what’s right is art, and what’s wrong is not art. I decided the Trumps are not art.’