The special election issue of New York Magazine hit newsstands today. Its cover image, by feminist artist Barbara Kruger, is as scathing and gorgeous a Trump takedown as there ever was.
The cover features a close-up, black-and-white photo of the Republican presidential candidate with a red banner reading “LOSER” plastered across it. Nowhere is his name mentioned. It’s the perfect insult for a candidate who has made the word his trademark, hurling it at nearly every person, place and thing that dares criticize or disagree with him.
Kruger is known her simple and cutting juxtapositions of word and image, which manipulate the language of advertising to critique systems of power, capitalism and oppression. With iconic works reading “Money Makes Money,” “Plenty Should Be Enough,” and “Your Body Is A Battleground,” Kruger’s words seem ready-made for Trump’s excessive persona and misogynist campaign.
Editor-in-chief Adam Moss explained the motivation behind the image in a New York Magazine piece. The editors, he expressed, “were drawn to it, in part, for the three ways in which it could be interpreted: as Trump speaking (single word epithets being his specialty); as a description of Trump; and as a call on the election result. On this latter point, who knows ― and we confess to being a little rattled when the Comey letter news broke just as were shipping it.
“But in the end we felt that the power of Kruger’s image transcended any one meaning you could read into it. The issue analyzes many aspects of Trump’s extraordinary candidacy, and an important point is spelled out in the headline we appended to the bottom corner: Trump has already changed America, not much for the better. Which adds a fourth meaning: in that sense we are all losers too.”
Bless you Barbara Kruger for this beautiful art object and prescient prediction of the election results. We’re almost there, people.