The Power of Art



Walking on the Entrepotdok in Amsterdam, basking in the surprisingly hot sunshine on probably one of the greatest fall days of late, my attention was grabbed sort of, – or, more precisely: I wanted my attention to be grabbed –, by The Power of Art, a new gallery.
When I entered, I saw two people, an older man with disheveled hair and a younger man with a baby face messing around with a machine gun mounted on some sort of dolly. The machine gun had a knife attached to it (like a bayonet) and the knife supposedly had cut into a large paintbrush artwork depicting Trump, Assad and Putin, their heads photoshopped, it seemed, on naked bodies of elderly men.
Behind the paintbrush artwork with the cuts there was another large paintbrush artwork, hanging on the wall, depicting Mark Zuckerberg, crying.
Who was going to be shot? The whole scene reminded me of the wonderful movie Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, in which a gallery owner is emptying his gun on a tube of paint in front of a white canvas, by way of action painting.
'We are rehearsing our act for the opening of the exhibition,' the older man explained.
The young man, I now discovered, was holding a remote control, with which he could move the dolly around on which the machine gun was mounted.
Should I look for cover?
Who was the artist?
They didn't know.
I peered into the gallery. In the back, there was an actual size statue, covered by a white sheet. The statue was of Donald Trump, the older man told me. It would be unveiled at the opening by the owner of the gallery.
'Several of these statues were placed in different cities all over America,' he went on. 'Some of them were demolished by pro-Trump activists.'
'Pro-Trump activists?'
'Yes. Pro-Trump activists didn't like their hero being displayed this way. Anti-Trump activists made selfies with it.'
I picked up a cloth little Trump doll from a couch. Made in China, it said. When I squeezed Trump's head, it squeaked.
I wondered if the artist behind all this Trump-merchandise realized that, in whichever form he wanted to depict him, he was paying him honor.
In any event, the power of art seemed te have been brought down to nil.

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