BY: MIROSLAV TOMOSKI
Chased down by screaming mobs through a two-year spectrum of adoration and rage, it only seems fitting that artists Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson would take one last trip on the T.RUMP bus to drive it into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
At least, that’s one option. Besides, there is soon to be a reality star in the White House and a healthy dose of satire may be needed to tide us all over.
After purchasing Donald Trump’s old campaign bus in the fall of 2015, Mary and David – a team of artists known as t.Rutt – transformed it into a work of protest and set out to follow the campaign.
Making appearances at rallies, both party conventions and even the Mexican border to construct as section of the wall, t.Rutt’s rolling artwork had become a signature of the 2016 campaign. But neither of them expected the project to last this long.
With Trump just weeks away from the presidency, the artists must now decide what to do with their mobile art gallery which features several original installations as well as a stripper pole they inherited from the Trump campaign.
“Since Nov 9th, we have been in somewhat of a quandary about the future of the T.RUMP bus and tossed around a lot of possibilities.” Mary said in an announcement, “In anticipation of the upcoming inauguration, we are asking the voters if they would like us to keep the bus on the road as an anti-Trump protest artwork or if they prefer we sink the bus and start a new coral reef.”
Voting begins on January 5th and will collect donations for the sinking or saving of the bus. Donations will be split between Smack Mellon, a non-profit arts organization out of Brooklyn, and environmental advocacy group the Sierra Club.
Whatever the outcome, David believes that the next four years will be a crucial time for public participation and artistic-protest in the spirit of former Czech president and playwright Vaclav Havel.
“If we are to change our world view, images have to change.” Havel once said, “The artist now has a very important job to do. He’s not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he’s really needed.”
The idea to sink the bus was inspired by artificial reefs which have been created in the past from New York City subway cars and even a decommissioned aircraft carrier. But Trump’s campaign promises and recent cabinet appointments also played a role.
“After the brutal reality sunk in that Trump had won I tried to be constructive about him. But, it’s just hard to move beyond his racist, sexist, isolationist and bullying rhetoric.” Said David.
With Scott Pruitt, former Oklahoma Attorney General, chosen by Trump to head the EPA, t.Rutt plan to use the bus to continue their protest or create a positive environmental impact.
“Once his extreme picks for cabinet officials were announced, especially the EPA and AG, it became clear that there is little hope for inspired and inclusive policy from the Trump administration.” David said.
Pruitt is just one of several Trump appointees with ties to fossil fuel companies and financial giants. In recent years, he has launched lawsuits against the agency he is set to lead, causing many to approach his appointment with skepticism.
“[W]e have to hope that Ralph Nader was right when he said that enlightened progressive governance and policy in the U.S. will be impossible until Americans have to live through an extreme right wing, anti-democratic administration.” David said, suggesting that the next step is to, “cross our fingers, sharpen our imaginations and engage this risky moment with all our might.”
You can VOTE to sink or save the bus at: saveitorsinkit.com