Meet the Art World Activists Responsible for These Viral Trump Sexual Assault Posters
Painter Marilyn Minter, curator Alison Gingeras, and graffiti artist KATSU are all involved.
As the world celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, a powerful image of President Donald Trump was going viral on social media. The poster, which appeared overnight on the streets of New York, pairs the former reality star’s grinning visage with the text of what the A.V. Club dubbed Trump’s “sexual assault monologue,” that is, the transcript of his now-infamous hot mic recording from Access Hollywood.
The offensive remarks are attributed to “the President of the United States” at the bottom of the graphic.
In the East Village, a wall of the posters were spotted by Vanishing New York, plastered on a construction site. The Daily Kos credited their appearance to “a magical protest elf.” Celebrities including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, actor Mark Ruffalo, and sports commentator Keith Olbermann all shared photographs of the guerrilla artwork on Twitter, mainly without knowing who was behind it.
But artnet News has learned that the mind behind the artwork is the Halt Action Group (HAG), the artist-run protest group also responsible for the Dear Ivanka campaign shaming the First Daughter.
“We felt that the viral presence of the poster—it was all over Twitter and Instagram, and used by well-respected writers and commentators in their posts on women’s issues yesterday—was a potent tool to refute the normalization of the Trump administration,” HAG co-founder and curator Alison Gingeras told artnet News in an email. The piece hopes to combat, “the collective amnesia that can dangerously set in when it comes to Trump’s history of violence (verbal and sexual) towards women.”
Artist Marilyn Minter designed the image for HAG, and graffiti artist KATSU was enlisted to help install the 1,000 or so posters across Manhattan using wheatpaste. A high-resolution copy is available for download on the HAG website in both black-and-white and color, and the group is encouraging everyone to print and distribute the artwork.
“We’re planning on doing it in other cities,” Minter told artnet News in a phone conversation. “We want to be the propaganda wing of the resistance.”
Fundraising efforts for an initiative that would involve wheatpasting the poster in other cities are underway, fueled by selling actual 3-D plaque versions of the image. According to Minter, several museums have already expressed an interest in acquiring the work in bronze.
“I’ve been making nothing but resistance propaganda since November 9,” she added, noting that she wasn’t sure when she would get back to making her usual work. “I want to reach the 90 million eligible voters who didn’t vote who are just waking up to how fragile our democracy is.”
Below, is Halt Action Group’s official statement about the project:
In observance of International Women’s Day on March 8th, HALT Action Group will issue a poster designed as a commemorative plaque of the infamous transcription of President Trump’s Access Hollywood recording. The campaign seeks to combat the whitewashing of our President’s history of sexual aggression and the normalization of his racist, anti-women administration.
Refusing amnesia, these words should haunt President Trump and embolden American women to vociferously contest the Trump administration’s systematic attack on reproductive rights as well as fight the appointment of arch-conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Given that this is an administration dominated by privileged white men, some with serious domestic violence allegations, this poster is a reminder that the abuse of women and the abuse of power always travel hand in hand.
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