Artworks
Left Right Left Right
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Left Right Left Right by Annette Lemieux was used in perhaps the first art world protest after the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States of America.

There were many great reactions to the election. Art Critic Jerry Saltz referred to a “Make America Great Again” hat as the “modern swastika,” many museums closed their doors on inauguration day, “the Brooklyn Museum [held] a special marathon reading of the 1935 Langston Hughes poem ‘Let America Be America Again,’ and the Rubin Museum [hosted] a yoga and meditation session called “Swear In, Breathe Out.” There was really no wrong way to be mad about it.

But the reaction that was perhaps the most poignant belonged to Annette Lemieux. She asked the curator of the Whitney to turn this piece upside down. The artwork is a group of 30 picket signs with images of raised fists on them. The fists belong to a few famous people like Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Fonda, Richard Nixon, and Miss America, as well as several other people – “a woman at Woodstock, the fists of a sailor and a preacher.” All in all it’s supposed to be a work for the people. Generations upon generations of protestors can look at this and see that protesting plays a huge part in our society and is one of our rights as citizens. By turning the work upside down, Lemieux communicated how devastating something like the election of Donald Trump was to the US.

She explains her experience on the morning of November 9, 2017: “I woke up on November 9th at about 4:30 in the morning and checked out the news. I was horrified that Trump was now my president.  My world just went upside down. I thought that my work Left Right Left Right that was installed in the Whitney’s Human Interest exhibition didn’t make any sense anymore. The piece was a celebration of protest or opposition, but that morning I and it felt defeated.” The piece was made in 1995 in response to “the bitterly divisive rhetoric of the Presidential race between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole” but it seemed that the work would now apply to the current administration as well…as long as it was upside down. So the piece was flipped and the art world made Lemieux their queen. Not literally, but the protest was a hit and inspired other protests, which inspired other protests, etc. Lemieux was the spark that lit the flame of civil disobedience after the 2016 election. And for that we are forever grateful.

Sources

Sources

  1. "Current Feature: Annette Lemieux." Musée Magazine. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2018.
  2. Dunne, Carey. "In Response To Trump's Election, Artist Asked The Whitney Museum To Turn Her Work Upside-Down." Hyperallergic. N.p., 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2018.
  3. Evans, Dayna. "Feeling Anxious On Inauguration Day? These Art Museums Are Offering Refuge." The Cut. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2018.
  4. "Jerry Saltz On Instagram: “Deep In Every American's Heart Is The Belief, The Haunting Knowledge That This Is The Modern Swastika.”." Instagram. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2018.
  5. Scott, Andrea. "New York Museums Signal Their Resistance To Trump." The New Yorker. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2018.