Powerful art is born from political strife, from the Troubles-inspired murals that dot Northern Ireland to the Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. And in keeping with the discourse of our times, the most provocative artwork to be created yet from this tumultuous election season has been a giant statue of Donald Trump with a tiny dick. Titled “The Emperor Has No Balls” the foam monstrosity popped up in five cities over the summer, where it sparked the kind of dialogue about Trump’s penis normally reserved for the national debate stage. Now this masterpiece for the Age of No Subtext can be yours, to be added to your collection of shit-smeared Jesus paintings and the like.
Julien’s Auctions is offering one of the statues—the sole remaining, after authorities confiscated, destroyed, and issued winking press statements about all the others—in an Oct. 22 auction in Los Angeles. According to Reuters, it’s expected to fetch between $10,000 and $20,000, a number that presumably reflects not only the pop-art significance it’s attained in this epochally dumb moment within our culture, but also the amount of labor and materials that actually went into making it. As The Daily Beast covered, the project for art collective Indecline—headed up by horror movie special effects creator Joshua Monroe—required nearly four months’ of work and around $6,000 worth of clay and resin to faithfully replicate Donald Trump’s sun-bloated-cadaver sheen. But of course, it was all worth it, as this statue finally introduced Trump’s ginger balls to the political debate. And now, one lucky bidder can introduce them to their home.
A portion of the final sale will be donated to the National Immigration Forum, an immigrant advocacy group who—if last night’s speech is any indication—would play an important role in a Trump administration, sending sharply worded letters that will make for fine kindling when the wind turns bitter atop Trump Wall. It’s a nice gesture, if a rather vague one. But considering the statue’s origin, it’s probably lucky to have any charitable angle at all. L.A. Weekly provides a comprehensive overview of Indecline’s ignoble history of doing fairly controversial, facile things, including producing those infamous Bumfights videos and attempting to have stolen body parts—including a baby’s head—shipped from Thailand “to give to friends as a joke.” More recently, they’ve been accused of coopting Black Lives Matter for a prank on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that prominently plugged their streetwear brand, and they painted a giant “Rape Trump” mural on the U.S./Mexico border, using the kind of spray-paint that dries so fast you don’t have time to workshop your ideas a little.
Ah, but is all that cheap vulgarity and blatant self-promotion merely a reflection of the times in which we live—and is it not the job of the artist to be a mirror of our society, no matter how cracked and dirty? That’s a conversation you can have in your salon as you ponder your $20,000 statue of Donald Trump’s dick.