Julie Mehretu at the Mirian Goodman Gallery,
24 West 57th Street, New York, NY
Saturday, October 29, 2016
The Last 100 Days of the Presidency of Barack Obama
Saturday afternoon I went to Trump Tower up on Fifth Avenue in Midtown. Its front sidewalk, some will say, is the belly of the Trump beast. Indeed I arrive to walk into a thick motley crowd. Towards the edge of the curb, elderly seeming Chinese mostly dressed in red and black vested suits or red silk dresses raise their Trump signs as high as they can. A parked Trump pick-up Truck is painted all over with pro-Trump stencils. The driver in a black cowboy hat is being interviewed for T.V. He tries to sound reasonable. “We’ve got to stop immigration. My parents were both emigrants but they came in legal. We got to make it legal” The newsman pushes him with questions. “Look, that tape is thirty years old. We all say things we regret. He is not a sexist. A woman runs one of his companies. About those accusations; if I was raped by a billionaire, I would not have waited 30 years to collect my money. It’s all made up.” Chants come up from different parts of the sidewalk. “Put her in prison now. Put her in prison now.” A woman in a smiling Hilary mask and prison stripes positions herself all over the place, chumming up to anyone, including myself for a “selfie” couple. “You make sure you get that in one in your newspapers.” Other women seem to favor the “Drain The Swamp” T-shirt. Incongruously a group of black men hold up the blue and white Trump signs while they chant, Trump, Trump, Trump. In this whole crowd I cannot help but begin to wonder who is getting paid or not to say what. Originally I thought I would ride the pro-Trump energy into a drawing on site. I can’t cope with the idea of doing that. I realize I despise Trump. I hustle over to Miriam Goodman’s Gallery on 57th Street to look closely at the abstract sumu ink works of Julie Mehretu. On some level the press release says they are about the destruction of Damascus. They are also energetic and beautiful. A redemption of sorts. I take out my pens and my Indian cotton rag paper. I sit down on a gallery bench and begin to draw madly.