Contemporary Art Review Analysis / by Cornelius

On October 11th, author John Sherman wrote an essay on in response to the #DaddyWillSaveUs art show in New York City held on October 8th . The essay is entitled, “The Sordid Irony of a Pro-Trump Art Show”— the starting point for a steadfast declaration against the show and its affiliates. The organizer of this group exhibition, Lucien Wintrich, considers the exhibition to have been the very first conservative art show (of significance) in New York City. Divisive stances have taken root this presidential election season and heated debate continues to rage between a crookedly evil Hillary and a big old steamy dump of a Trump. #DaddyWillSaveUs, in particular, highlights the rightward supporters; this review, in particular, highlights the left’s distain for the creepy-crawly right-dwellers that have surfaced within a very unlikely location called, “the art world”.

Sherman begins by establishing the necessary background information— this gathering was initially denied business from the first art space Wintrich approached on the account of the owner being uncomfortable with the conservative beliefs accompanied by this art show. In the grand scheme of things, this was exactly what the organizer, and the participants, wanted to happen. It brought attention to what they were doing. After describing the sort of art that was shown at #DaddyWillSaveUs (like a Tylenol pill in a shadowbox, autographed by Martin Shkreli selling for $20,000, a foreign-born gay man bathing in pigs' blood, and even MLK Jr. wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat), Sherman equates the show to the House of German Art. This show paid homage to Hitler and all that the Nazi party deemed appropriate for Germans. What would an article about Trump be without the classic Hitler reference? He writes, “it is difficult to allow hate to announce itself in public view, particularly when there seems to be enough already baked into our societal systems not to need any on the side.”

I agree that the art was tasteless and uninteresting from a technical standpoint. I agree that it was childish to hold this art show in the first place—its intent was not to do anything but to highlight the faults of the left and continue this notion that they are against free speech and are sensitive little babies that only speak up to “virtue signal”.  I disagree with the author of this review solely for one reason—he misses that this show was fucking hilarious. He, just like the many other sites who covered this show, fell into an unbelievably obvious trap. The intended audience was not the conservatives that blindly worship what these Internet idols have to say about social and political issues. The intended audience was those who would be so greatly offended by the idea of a right leaning art show in the first place—especially in the stinky wake trump has stirred up in America.  There is nothing funnier to these conservative “artists” than the opportunity to point out how ridiculously emotional people with opposite opinions get. This is trolling 101, and because participants such a Milo Giannopoulos and Gavin McInnes, are so versed in internet culture, they know exactly how to do it. In fact, Lucien Wintrich actually posted a video on YouTube asking for crowd funding to encourage participation in “troll[ing] the art world”. 

What is interesting is the fact that this was an art show, granted in an overwhelmingly liberal art world. The amount of protest and backlash received was literally the art piece from my prospective. The works within the show were sub-par. They were a joke. But it seems clear that they were supposed to be. Trolls work in mysterious ways… and if you do not know the true culture of the Internet, you might not even notice you are being trolled—the reaction always stokes the fire. And yes, this show was born from the Internet. Milo and Gavin are professional provocateurs…they make a ton of money off the Internet inciting the most vocal on the left to clash with the extreme folks on the right. From a troll’s perspective: “what better group to troll than the liberal media in the context of the emotional and sensitive art world?” #DaddyWillSaveUs had to be over the top, it had to be ridiculous, it had to play on the heart-strings and the emotions of the very people who hate Trump, otherwise it would be a complete and total failure.

The pieces within the show were not the focus—they were simply part of the process in which enticed those to write, speak, and protest about it. For the reason that it is going against the status quo of social sentiment within the media today, it was successful in getting a rise out of the art world. Childish or not, they got what the wanted…and this review by John Sherman was music to their ears.