How artists are marking Trump’s 100th day in office
“Bad Perro” by Allison Johnston
(CNN) – President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office has become, perhaps unintentionally, an inspiration for artists nationwide.
Art exhibits, poetry sessions and dance performances are popping up to mark the first three months of the Trump administration, most casting themselves as acts of resistance.
“After the election, I had very strong feelings about what was happening, and for a while, I was very frustrated,” said Matt Adams, curator of The First 100 Days: Artists Respond, a Houston-based exhibition opening Saturday.
When Adams decided to do an art show, he called on artists from “both sides of the aisle” but received no submissions in favor of the President.
“In the exhibit room, I have a 50-foot blank wall that represents the work submitted in support of Trump,” he said.
In San Francisco’s Bay Area, the public radio-supported KQED Arts’ series invited creators to participate in First 100 Days: Art in the Age of Trump and has been publishing a consistent stream of content online.
Bracelets titled “Alternative Facts” and “Circular Logic” provide critical commentary on the Trump administration by San Mateo jewelry artist Harriete Estel Berman.
“Alternative Facts” bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman
“Recently we’ve been confronted with the current administration’s destabilization of the idea of truth,” Berman said. “Ever since the presidential election of 2016, the concept of truth, which I considered an absolute, has been bent.”
The series also highlights examples of Trump cast in a positive light. In a piece titled “Great Again,” artist Jon Proby of Oakland, California, depicts the President holding up the Statue of Liberty’s arm. The piece is meant to “celebrate Trump’s victory by showcasing him supporting Liberty while highlighting the role memeology and Christianity played in his voter base,” he told CNN.
His goal “is to carve inroads into the fine arts world which has been dominated for decades by the leftist Post-Modernists,” Proby told KQED.
Some renowned artists have gone out of their way to be creative. Political activists and artists Shepard Fairey and Ai Weiwei have joined in collaboration with The Skateroom, a contemporary art brand that invites artists to create limited-edition artwork on skateboards.
Launching this week in San Francisco’s Art Market, the exhibit showcases skateboards with an image of Weiwei making an obscene gesture toward the White House. Fairey has adapted one of his existing artworks, “No Future,” to appear on the boards in a denunciation of hate speech.
“Study of Perspective: The White House” by Ai Weiwei
A few miles away, a 100 Days No Ban Dance Party and a poetry reading will take place. They are initiatives of a group called 100 Days Action, which presents itself as “a counter-narrative to the Trump administration’s 100-day plan.”
The group curated a 100-day calendar of “activist and artistic strategy,” which includes anti-Trump aerobics, a workshop about Freedom of Information Act requests to the FBI, and converting popular album covers into political art.
And for music lovers, some anti-Trump songs have been compiled. Our First 100 Days brought together artists and labels for a 100-song project, with all profits going directly to organizations working on the front lines of advocacy for the climate, women’s rights, immigrants’ rights and fairness.
The importance of this movement is unequivocal, said Adams, the Houston exhibit curator.
“Artists throughout history have always responded to what is going on in their world at that time, marking their place in history,” he said. “Art survives longer than the times in which it is created. It is important to humanity that artists create work that reflect their times.”