It just so happens that no artist submitted pro-Trump work.
“Everyone that I talked to about this topic before the call for entries closed said, ‘Now Matt, you know you’re not going to get any pro-Trump work,’” says Adams. “I’m not necessarily surprised, but I am disappointed that we don’t have the other side of the story.”
The idea to curate a juried show came over pizza and beer with friends, as Adams was looking to channel his own frustrations into a project. Though there have been anti-Trump exhibits across the United States over the last year, Adams wanted to put his own spin on it, meaning it was open to those of all political views and that it would correspond with Trump’s hundredth day in office.
Artists were required to both demonstrate a mastery of their medium and to submit an artist statement on their works, which was a new twist for many of them. “Visual artists and words? Not so much,” says Adams, adding that he knows of at least three that chose not to submit because of the requirement. Still, he felt it was a key component and was not disappointed in the statements that did come in.
Expect to see phrases like “you better get used to disappointment,” “I refuse to follow this movement,” “humanity will prevail,” and “only then will this have been worth it.” In her statement on her painting Make America Regret Again, Ronen makes clear that she was not looking to create a caricature. The portrait and the hands were from different images available online, which she only combined and set against a background hinting at Nazism. Ronen ends the statement by saying simply, “We are screwed. Bigly.”
“I wanted to create an opportunity for artists to respond to their world at this time. That was my goal,” says Adams. “Art has the power to allow artists to convey human emotions. This is what artists are doing. They are not making a political statement on behalf of anyone else. They’re making statements from their own heart, their own mind, their own experiences.”
Ultimately, Adams says artists want to make art. “There are artists still making work. I’m not going to be surprised if there’s another show. I mean, this is already Houston’s second show of political art. Do you think there’s going to be another? Probably.”
The Silos at Sawyer Yards, 1502 Sawyer. For information, visit thefirst100daysartistsrespond.com.