Walk of Shame? A Guerrilla Artist Put Donald Trump’s Hollywood Star Behind Bars—Literally
The star was recently destroyed by a vandal with a pickax.
Plastic Jesus has struck again. On Wednesday morning, the anonymous Los Angeles street artist placed President Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star literally behind bars.
“There have been calls to jail Trump since the day he was elected, and today he was certainly put behind bars—or at least his now infamous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was caged,” he wrote in an email to artnet News, providing pictures of the sidewalk plaque with bars installed on top of it.
“Although it was very quickly damaged by a Trump supporter trying to remove it, the bars did appear to be stuck fast and were there several hours later—to the amusement of thousands of passing tourists,” he added, noting that he had put the art piece in place at around 11 a.m.
Despite being vandalized on more than one occasion, the star has no special security or protection, other than being monitored by CCTV cameras, (The walk, with its terrazzo and brass stars, is a registered historic landmark.) Most recently, on July 25, a 24-year-old man destroyed the marker with a pickax, but it was repaired the same day.
Plastic Jesus typically skewers the excesses of fame and celebrity—his favorite targets include the Kardashians and the Oscars, particularly Hollywood’s idolization of the golden statuette, which he has reimagined as a crucified Kanye West, a bathrobe-clad Harvey Weinstein, and a drug-user, injecting heroin as well as kneeling to snort cocaine.
But the artist has also been a searing critic of Trump, denouncing his “racism, bigotry, homophobia, and sexism” to artnet News in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Plastic Jesus has installed metal parking signs reading “No Trump Anytime” in cities across the country, and created fake Trump currency that purported to be worth $100 but came bound in wrappers reading “completely worthless.”
The guerrilla street artist has used Trump’s Hollywood star to voice his opposition to the former reality star’s policies in the past. To speak out against Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, Plastic Jesus erected a miniature concrete wall around the star in 2016, sealing the marker off from the rest of the walk.
“Artists are able to connect and convey opinion in a universal way,” Plastic Jesus said. “So I think it’s important for artists to speak out. I think art encourages dialogue and debate like no other media.”
In March of last year, a particularly prescient Plastic Jesus piece saw the artist co-opt a handful of vacant lots around the city, hanging signs on the padlocked fences declaring “Lot reserved for: Future Internment Camp. By order: Donald J. Trump. President United States of America. Executive order 9066.” The poster included the White House seal and the president’s signature, but a QR code on the bottom right corner revealed the poster to be a stunt by the artist.
Sadly, just over a year later, after Trump began enforcing a controversial family separation policy at the border, children from Latin America were being held at former Walmart stores and other make-shift detention facilities. Reports from NPR and the Wall Street Journal suggest that private immigration detention centers are a booming business.
With his latest work, titled Trump December 2020, Plastic Jesus echoes suspicions that the president may have committed treason or some other crime, possibly in connection with the ongoing Russia probe.
“For Trump to go to jail, there needs to be a verifiable crime; being a sleazy, cheating, bigoted racist is sadly not enough to jail him,” the artist said. “I hope the Mueller investigation can run its course, and if illegality is found, then Trump pays the price.”
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