The presidency of Donald Trump has polarised our nation. But his toxic brand has served to clarify and amplify the distinction between an entrenched misogynistic and racist culture and those of us that believe in a broader sense of equality and justice for all. He has made (many) of us look a little closer at our thoughts, actions and even our collective histories. This process has spun way beyond the first pussy hat marches in the opening days of this administration and the sustained Black Lives Matter protests going on now. It has spread to cultural institutions, thanks to the DeColonise This Place protests and even into academia. Corporate America, whose only interest has always been the financial bottom line, is being forced to join this conversation.
In Rome I have a continuing guerrilla billboard campaign in support of the Me Too movement. It was not difficult to find images to serve as the literal poster child for #Me Too. Doing this project has changed me. There is a new awareness of how deep, profound and across the board abuse and victimisation of women is in the canon of western art. I now look at the artworks differently than I did as an undergraduate sitting in a darkened lecture hall watching slides projected on a screen.
There are ramifications to art history. As I was writing this post, Congressman Ted Yoho called Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a, and I refuse to repeat the vulgarity, literally behind her back on the steps of the US Capitol. In his forced faux apology in the House, Yoho said, and I quote, "no one was accosted, bullied or attacked".