With the novel coronavirus roaring in the United States, Washington, D.C., like much of the country, has shuttered its popular destinations, including many museums, art galleries, and eateries. But if you happen to live in or be visiting the district, you may stumble upon golden statues depicting Donald Trump around the city, including two in Freedom Plaza and outside of the Trump Hotel. They first popped up last weekend and what’s special about these statues isn’t only that they call out Trump’s various horrors, but that they’re actually not ‘statues’ at all—they’re alive.
The Trump Statue Initiative is behind this living art installation project. The three “statue” scenes depicted Trump in some of his most infamous scenes. One, titled The Poser, portrays him holding up the Bible while Black Lives Matter protesters are attacked at his feet. Another, titled Now Go Back To School, shows him telling a kid wearing personal protective equipment to return to school—while Trump is waving a golf club. The last, simply titled The Bunker, shows him clutching a stuffed animal and tuning into Fox News while hunkered down in a bunker, a clear nod to reports that he went to an underground bunker while Black Lives Matter protests occurred near the White House in May. Trump later claimed he merely went down to the bunker went for an “inspection.”
Why living statues? As Bryan Buckley, the writer and filmmaker who staged this installation project, explained to AdAge in an interview, the inception goes back to Trump’s obsession with statues. “I felt like the best thing we could do was to create these very honest statues of the legacy he’s living right now, that let the world see exactly who he is,” he told the outlet.
Speaking to The Hill about the project, Buckley said they planned to move on from D.C. to “less friendly areas soon,” meaning that you might come across these street performers in your region. And if you’re wondering what the point of the project really is, Buckley hopes people who stop to take pictures of the statues or chat with them are encouraged to vote in November.
ArtNet reports that violinist Celeste Vee stood near the statues and played songs by artists that banned the use of their music at Trump rallies.
You can check some out some of the viral photos below, and learn more about the initiative at their website.
— KND (@KNDmex) July 18, 2020
If you're in the DC Metro area today head on over to Freedom Plaza and check out the art installation, "The Trump Statue Initiative." Learn more at https://t.co/7A7jZwz6aS. #Vote2020 #trumpstatueinitiative pic.twitter.com/NrtOCeXBfH
— Hungry Man (@hungrymantweets) July 17, 2020
A crew of artists called the Trump Statue Initiative installed these around D.C. pic.twitter.com/W9voRx4DRT
— Bryan Harnsberger Psy.D (@PSYCH_HYPE) July 17, 2020
Published with permission of Daily Kos