Art And Culture

Trump Politics Influences Art Basel Miami Fair

2016 Art Basel in Miami Beach2016 Art Basel in Miami Beach

Politics and art have often gone hand in hand. At the Art Basel Miami Beach fair, the biggest and most anticipated of the year in North America, exhibitors certainly have Donald Trump on their minds.

Several artists showing at the event, which opened Thursday, have taken on the Republican president-elect, his tough stance on immigration and even the white supremacists who support him -- backing he has nevertheless disavowed.

“We are in a moment now of great political transformation and social change in America, and a number of works that have been created respond to that,” said the fair’s director Noah Horowitz, AFP reported from Miami.

American artist Sam Durant has done two works that take on troubled race relations in the United States.

One is a large red backlit sign with words in black vinyl letters that reads “End White Supremacy.”

The other hangs behind a graffiti-covered cement brick wall -- a reference to the wall with Mexico that Trump has vowed to raise.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, an artist from Thailand who lives in New York, is exhibiting a three-panel tryptic featuring newspaper pages with big headlines like “Trump Triumphs.”

Overlaid on top, in bold red letters on one panel are the words: “The tyranny of common sense has reached its final stage.”

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes makes his unease known through a wooden sculpture inspired by the Statue of Liberty, but with tractor-type treads at its base. The title? “Lady Liberty (as a Trojan Horse)”.

In total, 269 galleries will display the work of artists from 29 countries through Sunday at Art Basel Miami Beach, the US edition of an event that originated in Switzerland and has grown in popularity over the past 15 years.

The artists whose works are on display range from masters such as Spain’s Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro to lesser-known newcomers.

Fears that crowds might skip this year’s event out of fear of being bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus seem to have subsided. Zika-carrying mosquitoes showed up in Miami Beach in September, but seemed to have been eradicated after aggressive aerial spraying.

“We faced our challenges, we dealt with Zika, but we hope the entire [travel] advisory will go away in a couple of weeks,” Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine told reporters.

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