For Picasso, there was “Guernica.” Motherwell had the “Elegy to the Spanish Republic.” John and Yoko staged Bed-Ins for Peace.
Now, in the face of Donald Trump’s bewildering presidency, a community effort is being launched to seek artist responses to Trump’s first hundred days. According to its recent press release, the organization, which calls itself The First Hundred Days: Artists Respond, has invited “artists across the country to organize any kind of art event such as an exhibit, performance, or reading” on April 29, Trump’s 100th day in office. A juried exhibition is already scheduled for that date in Houston, but the organizers hope to enlist other groups in cities around the country to take part.
Organizers have also stressed that they are taking contributions from Trump opponents as well as supporters, in the hopes of creating not just a protest movement, but an artist-inspired dialogue. Still, it is clearly the anti-Trump sentiment that has motivated the project: the organizers state that while they are seeking corporate sponsors, the event is not-for-profit, and all profits will be donated to the ACLU — an organization that is actively fighting many of Trump’s major policy efforts. For such artists, Picasso’s words still echo loud both in their work and in their lives:
“What do you think an artist is? …he is a political being, constantly aware of the heart breaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. Painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war.”
For more information, or assistance in setting up a local “Artists Respond” event, organizers can be reached at Exhibit@TheFirst100DaysArtistsRespond.com
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