Trump THIS! The 12th Annual Open Call Exhibition at the Art Car Museum

10/08/2017 05:00 am ET Updated Oct 09, 2017
<em>Divided We Stand</em> [2017] by Bruce Anthony Hunt
Christian Sarkar
Divided We Stand [2017] by Bruce Anthony Hunt

Houston, TEXAS - Even as the city slowly recovers from Hurricane Harvey, there’s a buzz at the Art Car Museum on Heights Boulevard. Trump THIS! is a thought-provoking exhibition to say the least. It’s the 12th Annual Open Call exhibition which this year was open to the first 100 artists to register!

The Art Car Museum, or “Garage Mahal” as some call it fondly, opened in February 1998. It was founded as a not-for-profit arts organization by Ann Harithas, artist and long-time supporter of the Art Car movement, and James Harithas, currently Director of the revolutionary Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas.

The museum’s goal is to “encourage the public’s awareness of the cultural, political, economic and personal dimensions of art.”

My awareness is certainly encouraged, even though this isn’t my first, or second, Trump show. I recall that Trump is not a friend of art.

I meet artist John Mitchell Linden II at the door, and he graciously gives me the tour, stopping to point out a few of the subtle (and some not-so-subtle) expressions of freedom we call art. I’m gobsmacked at both the quantity and quality of the works. Post-Harvey, Houston’s art community is as vibrant as ever.

Here’s a selection from the show:

<em>Trump Smartwater </em>[2017] by Herb Shapiro
Christian Sarkar
Trump Smartwater [2017] by Herb Shapiro
<em>Epic</em> [2016] by Damon Thomas
Christian Sarkar
Epic [2016] by Damon Thomas
<em>Mother, Do you think they’ll build the wall?</em> [2017] She Serves Whisky Collective
Christian Sarkar
Mother, Do you think they’ll build the wall? [2017] She Serves Whisky Collective
<em>Poison the Rat </em>[2017] by Kenn Coplan
Christian Sarkar
Poison the Rat [2017] by Kenn Coplan
<em>Promises, Promises</em> [2017] by Michelle O’Michael
Christian Sarkar
Promises, Promises [2017] by Michelle O’Michael

Here’s Linden’s work (below), with some serious archetypical action. The smokestacks, the military-industrial complex, the art of the shady deal, the mute violin with no strings, the burning facades of our empire, the setting sun, a manhole, and the oil tanker sailing by smooth and slow. What more can you ask for? It’s everyman’s favorite dystopia - the present reality!

<em>Postcard from a friend (Don’t Wish You Were Here)</em> [2017] by John Mitchell Linden II
Christian Sarkar
Postcard from a friend (Don’t Wish You Were Here) [2017] by John Mitchell Linden II
GoldPlated Lies [2017] by Ed Wilson
Christian Sarkar
GoldPlated Lies [2017] by Ed Wilson
<em>Trump and the Golden Turd</em> [2017] by MK Ghonima
Christian Sarkar
Trump and the Golden Turd [2017] by MK Ghonima
<em>Shitting on Top of the World</em> [2017] by mitch samuels-grystar
Christian Sarkar
Shitting on Top of the World [2017] by mitch samuels-grystar

A theme seems to be emerging.

<em>Outrageous Acts, Everyday Rebellions</em> [2017] by Becky R. Soria
Christian Sarkar
Outrageous Acts, Everyday Rebellions [2017] by Becky R. Soria
<em>Jonathan’s Spirit Key Ball of Fire Chariot </em>[2017] by Jonathan Rosenstein
Christian Sarkar
Jonathan’s Spirit Key Ball of Fire Chariot [2017] by Jonathan Rosenstein
<em>Red, White, and Blue Plate Special </em>[2017] by L. Kelly Lyles
Christian Sarkar
Red, White, and Blue Plate Special [2017] by L. Kelly Lyles
<em>Earthman 2 on Abandoned Interstate</em> [2015] by Dion Laurent
Christian Sarkar
Earthman 2 on Abandoned Interstate [2015] by Dion Laurent
<em>Chupacabra on the Texas Border</em> [2011] by Jeffrey Brailas
Christian Sarkar
Chupacabra on the Texas Border [2011] by Jeffrey Brailas
<em>If You Aren’t at the Table, Then You Are on the Menu</em> [2017] by Stephanie Darling
Christian Sarkar
If You Aren’t at the Table, Then You Are on the Menu [2017] by Stephanie Darling
<em>Wall of Emotion</em> [2017] by Lyn Sullivan
Christian Sarkar
Wall of Emotion [2017] by Lyn Sullivan
<em>Refugee </em>[2017] by Magda Boltz Wilson
Christian Sarkar
Refugee [2017] by Magda Boltz Wilson
<em>Throne of Eyes; The World is Watching </em>[2011] by Joe Hale Haden
Christian Sarkar
Throne of Eyes; The World is Watching [2011] by Joe Hale Haden
<em>January 21, 2017 The Women’s March on Washington</em> [2017] by Cindee Klement
Christian Sarkar
January 21, 2017 The Women’s March on Washington [2017] by Cindee Klement

There is one work that evokes hope and love:

<em>Planet LOVE (where LOVE trumps all) </em>[2017] by Alicia Duplan
Christian Sarkar
Planet LOVE (where LOVE trumps all) [2017] by Alicia Duplan

But for the rest, I’d say the terrorist in the White House is not much loved. Still, at least there are shows like Trump THIS! happening in Texas. That itself is a small victory.

I wave goodbye to Alicia Duplan - she’s the definitely the most cheerful person here. Thanks, John!

Alicia Duplan, assistant director, Art Car Museum
Christian Sarkar
Alicia Duplan, assistant director, Art Car Museum

Nicely done. The Trump THIS! exhibition runs through November 19, 2017. There’s still time to catch it.

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