What does political art try to reveal?
There's a controversial art installation that's popped up in L.A. and other cities: A life-size Donald Trump statue... that's naked. Like, zero clothing.
There's a controversial art installation that's popped up in several cities around the country — including in Los Angeles.
It's a life-size Donald Trump statue. The thing is, though: he's naked. Like, zero clothing.
The statues were produced by the artists collective INDECLINE and it's called The Emperor Has No... Well, let's just say the last word refers to a sensitive part of the male anatomy. We'll leave the rest to your imagination.
So, just how effective is political art like this and what does it say?
A Martinez spoke to Richard Wearn, professional sculptor and Professor of Art at Cal State L.A.
On what the artists are trying to accomplish...
I think the work is very effective in that it's kind of mimicking the way, perhaps, someone like Donald Trump did climb to a place of prominence in the political landscape and that the old adage is that we create our own politicians. With the work of this nature, it's mute; it's not making a statement based on language. It's just there and we kind of create the meaning around it. We project upon it.
I think the work is very effective on that level. It's also something that's a vehicle for dissemination through social media which is now sort of the primary political broadcast instrument in many ways. If people really did do their homework and thought through how this thing was going to operate. It's been effective.
On the idea that the body image portrayed is an unflattering of Trump...
When you look at the sculpture, it's not too far from his body form. We're so used to looking at idealized body forms in the media that we lose sight of the fact that the human body can be a very weird-looking thing at times. And so when you throw something like that in a public space, the affront has maybe to do with the fact that it's not an ideal body, but that is probably closer to the reality of his body.
On the meaning behind the title of the piece
Obviously it relates to the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale ["The Emperor's New Clothes]. A lot of Hans Christian Andersen's work was political satire but drawn up in the medium of fairy-tales. So all the connection that have to do with the foolishness, the arrogance that gets connected with power and powerful people fall into. All those references are there.
To hear the full conversation, click the blue player above.