Review: Dazed or just plain mad, artists react to President Trump in Bonfire Gallery show

“ARTRUMPS” at Seattle’s Bonfire Gallery is an angry, messy jumble and a fascinating case study for how art can fuel varied expressions of shared political sentiments, writes critic Gayle Clemans. It has works by 34 artists, poets and art collectives.

This art exhibition is not for Trump supporters. The 34 artists, poets, and artist collectives in “ARTRUMPS: RESISTANCE AND ACTION” at Bonfire Gallery are pretty clearly flabbergasted, despondent, or mad as hell about the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. It’s an angry, messy jumble and a fascinating case study for how art can fuel varied expressions of shared political sentiments.

There’s a lot packed into a fairly small space and the immediate impact is from knee-jerk, punched-in-the-gut reactions. Like the countless memes zipping around social media, there are quick punches of biting, often juvenile, easily digestible humor: Trump as the emperor with no clothes, Trump as a “well-oiled lying machine,” Trump as less evolved than a Neanderthal.

In that regard, I take slight issue with the subtitle of the show: “resistance and action.” A caricature of Donald Trump or a jokey reference to the size of his hands does not necessarily equate to political resistance. But they are actions. Or, at the very least, heartfelt re-actions. And so, it is hard to argue that this art should be something other than it is.

EXHIBITION REVIEW

‘ARTRUMPS: RESISTANCE AND ACTION’

Noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays through June 3, Bonfire Gallery, 603 S Main St., Seattle; (206-790-1073 or thisisbonfire.com/gallery).

A few artists extend their work beyond the immediate, visceral “aaarrgh” into broader, sustained actions. Ellen Sollod distributes ribbons signifying resistance and takes photographs of people with signs stating what they resist and embrace (my favorite: “I embrace radical hospitality”). Both projects are ongoing and expansive,…

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