Buckman joined forces with fellow feminist artist Natalie Frank to call out some of the real and entirely repulsive statements said by politicians about women and their bodies, in a painful yet necessary project called “We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident.”
The artists were inspired to do something about the rampant sexism that has long plagued politics after President Donald Trump’s comments about grabbing women “by the pussy” surfaced. “Women have been so traumatized about the language Trump used,” Frank told The Huffington Post, “the way he talks about sexual violence, the way he mocks it.”
Unfortunately, Trump is far from the first elected official to make shameful and abhorrent comments about women’s rights and health. Frank and Buckman resolved to unearth some of the most heinous comments and share them with the public. The mural is now on view for all to see, in the Ford Foundation Live Gallery at New York Live Arts.
“Researching the quotes was tough, emotionally,” Buckman said. “Seeing these words typed out, reading sentiment after sentiment of disrespect and hatred, the preposterous absence of science, fact, or reality, the utter lack of compassion, and the blatant misogyny: It’s blindingly clear that there is a war on women right now and that there always has been.”
The mural includes quotes by both liberal and conservative politicians, including Mike Pence, Ben Carson, Bill Clinton and Rick Santorum. The first quote, credited to former Wisconsin State Assembly member Roger Rivard, reads: “Some girls, they rape so easy.”
The statements are projected atop an image of a group of older white men gathered around a table. Atop the mantle sits a painting of a nude odalisque, referencing the long history of objectification aimed at women’s bodies, both in politics and art.
“It hasn’t been 100 years since women got the right to vote,” Frank added. “There is a real fragility there, and a gravity to women taking a stand for themselves and their rights. If there is anything this election has shown us [it’s that] the things we take for granted can be wiped out.”
“We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident” is now on view in the Ford Foundation Live Gallery at New York Live Arts, and will be up throughout the spring season.