Thursday, November 10, 2016


The arts won’t be big on the horizon of the newly elected President of the United States. Trump hasn’t had much to say on the arts throughout his campaign for the White House and no policies by Donald Trump on Arts & Culture have been documented. As a committed low brow, one of Trump’s most famous engagements with the arts concerned his own image when he purchased a portrait of himself, possibly with money from his own charitable foundation.

One of Trump’s few public statements on the visual arts was made during the fuss over the exhibition Sensation: young British artists from the Saatchi collection when it was shown in 1999 at the Brooklyn Museum. The then mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani objected to The Holy Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili and attempted to close the exhibition down. Trump came out in support claiming, ‘It's not art. It's absolutely gross, degenerate stuff. It shouldn't be funded by government.’ While he conceded there were First Amendment difficulties with such an approach he felt they could be solved by having work of this sort exhibited in private museums. If he were President, Trump told reporters, he would cut federal funds for ‘offensive or obscene art and … ensure that the National Endowment of the Arts stops funding of this sort.’

The final art connection belongs to Trump, ‘I do what I do out of pure enjoyment. Hopefully, nobody does it better. There’s a beauty to making a great deal. It’s my canvas. And I like painting it.’

Image: Havi Schanz’s painting of Donald Trump