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    "Emperor's New Clothes": Propaganda Versus Art

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    Denis Bolotsky
    How the 2016 US Presidential Election Will Go Down in History (4)
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    Several street artists got actively involved in the 2016 US presidential campaign to express their feelings for both the Republican and Democratic candidates. However, with their art being reduced mainly to body shaming exercises, such attempts to influence voters in such way were often perceived as propaganda.

    In the summer of 2016 a Melbourne-based street artist, Lushsux, painted several murals depicting America’s presidential candidates and their relatives. He started with a two-story-high painting of a nude Donald Trump. Melania Trump’s portrait followed, with all that urban artwork being photographed, and shared on Instagram by hundreds of people, including the artist himself.

    The wall paintings caused a lot of controversy, but it seems that the real hell broke loose when Lushsux turned his attention to the US Democratic presidential candidate.

    An image of a mural depicting Hillary Clinton wearing nothing but an American flag-printed bikini went viral on social media, causing outrage among Clinton’s fans.

    Instagram temporarily suspended the artist's account, — something that he called an act of censorship.

    Lushsux was also threatened with a heavy fine by Melbourne city authorities. They said the painting was offensive because of the way it depicts a near-naked woman, and not because of the fact that it portrays Hillary Clinton. Lushsux complied with city’s demands to alter the mural, leaving only the woman’s eyes visible from under a freshly-painted niqab, and saying that whoever considers the new version offensive is a “sexist, racist, islamophobic, xenophobic, uncultured and ignorant bigot.”

    In August of 2016, a 27-year-old artist named Antony Scioli erected a grotesque caricature statue of a nude Hillary Clinton near Bowling Green station in Manhattan. It was up for less than three hours before it was toppled it over by an outraged woman.

    According to New York Daily news, the artist received an order from the counterterrorism unit to dismantle the statue because he failed get a permit for the demonstration.

    Donald Trump, in turn, got his share of domestic body shaming art performances when naked statues of the politician appeared in five large US cities.

    Mainstream media, which wasn’t too eager to pick up the Hillary Clinton story before the offensive Australian mural was “fixed”, apparently decided to hit Trump real hard: Rolling Stone, The Guardian, BBC, NBC News, Telegraph, Time Magazine and Washington Post were all reporting on the issue.

    Yoav Litvin – a New York based photographer and writer who has been researching urban culture for years, told Sputnik that in cases like these, art serves a divisive agenda, and therefore it’s becoming a propaganda tool in the hands of ruling elites.

    What it does – it ridicules. And it serves those in power – the Democrats, the neo-liberals in power, who reduce the conversation to a kind of ridiculing the other side, instead of attempting to talk to them, which is actually what Donald Trump is doing in his bigoted way, but at least he’s approaching workers and people who have been disenfranchised and acknowledging them. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is hobnobbing with her rich friends, going to celebrity dinners for $250,000 a plate, and then ridicules half of his supporters as a “basket of deplorables”.

    Media frenzy over Trump’s statues continued when one of them was sold at an auction for $22,000. However, after America elects its new president, it seems that the nation will have many other problems to deal with – both domestically and internationally. So it’s highly unlikely that caricature items that once made it into the headlines, including the Melbourne Clinton mural, and the US Trump statues, will be noticed after the election.

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    How the 2016 US Presidential Election Will Go Down in History (4)
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    presidential campaign, art, 2016 US Presidential Run
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