Trumped Up China
The Party's Over & Trump Esq.
Ceramics have been used historically to communicate ideas, advocate social change and propagate political sentiment. This practice expands greatly in the 18th century with the invention of the ceramic transfer print in British pottery production. Printed imagery of the day could be adapted in real time to functional ceramics furnishing a broad demographic of British colonial and American Households.
Michelle Erickson's work The Party's Over adapts Paul Revere's 1774 engraving The Able Doctor as a modern reinvention of this practice. Transposed portraits of key contemporary self-proclaimed 'tea party'politicians and activists fit alarmingly well into this brutal 18th century satire. The composition depicting the violation of an allegorical America dually represents the broader notion of an imperiled Liberty facilitated greatly by citizens united and more specifically the inconceivable plight of women's rights at risk in 21st century America.
Erickson's limited edition Made In USA mugs use a line of commercially available American made Starbucks mugs as the vehicle for her prescient 2013 political satire The Party's Over. The mugs are clobbered with her ceramic print, pink luster and gold enameled logo incorperating the company's makers mark as title.
Trump Esq. transforms the satirical 18th century engraving of John Wilkes Esq.uire by William Hogarth into a political portrait of Trump. The 18th century rake come populist -described here as a "Member of Parliament, political agitator, friend of freedom, demagogue, wit, libertine, pornographer, and shameless self-promoter, England's John Wilkes was to colonial Americans an idol." With unsuccessful attempts to gain public political support "He spent much of his early career twitting John Stuart, the Earl of Bute, and learning how to use his talent for ridicule to gain international fame."*
Erickson draws distinct parallels between Wilkes and his 'populist' paper The North Briton and Trump's propaganda machine of 21st century social and mainstream media.
"Every issue of "The North Briton" was crowded with scandalous rumors and insults. Lord Egremont was "a weak, passionate, and insolent secretary of state," and Secretary of the Treasury Samuel Martin was "the most treacherous, base, selfish, mean, abject, low-lived and dirty fellow, that ever wriggled himself into a secretaryship."*
Years of cynical republican leadership assaults on immigration, women's rights, voting rights, planned parenthood, LGBT rights, climate change, and gun legislation - the ugly politics of us and them gave Trump his rebel yell.
Purveying the lie of President Obama' s illegitimacy has been the disturbing toolkit for Trump' s populist appeal demonizing American diversity of race culture and religion as a threat to some bygone white Christian way of life. The Trump ' brand' dominates the 24 hr news cycle through low discourse, sensationalized, divisive, xenophobic and dangerously nationalistic commentary. Whether MSNBC, CNN, FOX, talk radio or even the ' liberal leaning' New York Times, all are brought to you by Shell and Viagra. Trump' s self-promoting policy, unconstitutional on it' s face, has been given exponential largess by the corporate medias premise of newsworthiness. The media' s thin and feckless scrutiny only emboldens Trump' s unapologetic advance of his own fame and fortune at any cost. But this has a cost a cost of human life and human dignity in America and the world. So it is important to give the republican party their due at the ballot box in November for giving the American people the treason of Trump for President.
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*Jack Lynch https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/summer03/wilkes.cfm
|1) The Able Doctor London Magazine 1774|
|2) John Wilkes Esq.(uire) 1763 by William Hogarth|
|5) Chinese Export Porcelain Bowl 1764-70|
|3) A Picturesque View of the State of the Nation 1778|
|4) Creamware Dish with American Revolution Cartoon|