‘Trump’ Visits Pasadena Via ‘The People’s Prison,’ Courtesy of Anarchist Art Collective INDECLINE and Gallery 30 South

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By MICHELLE NATI

1:57 pm | April 20, 2018


The only things that appeared to be missing were the live rats at “The People’s Prison,” a show by anarchist art collective INDECLINE at Pasadena’s Gallery 30 South Thursday night, although they may have been hiding beneath the fast food wrappers at the feet of “President Trump,” who spoke to reporters from inside a makeshift jail cell.

If the scene sounds familiar, it’s because INDECLINE created nearly the same tableau inside Trump International Hotel and Tower in Manhattan in March. There, they rented a $1,000-a-night suite and worked under the radar, clearing the room of the usual hotel accouterments and repurposing it to resemble a prison.

At Trump Hotel, and at Gallery 30 South Thursday night, the cell’s lone occupant—comedian and Trump impersonator Bob DiBuono—was dressed as the president, replete with a MAGA hat and gold handcuffs at his wrists. He spouted off various Trumpisms (“bigly,” “sad,” etc.) and gave opinions on The Art Of The Deal (“I heard Jesus read it, he loved it”), James Comey (“I told Comey to go homey”), and the subjects of the art around him, who he described as “flunkies.”

The work of 13 U.S. artists, who painted portraits of American activists and revolutionaries on American flags, surrounded the cell. Written on the wall in the gallery was the statement “Rats Will Eat Anything, Even Their Rat King.”

INDECLINE made headlines worldwide in 2016 for “The Emperor Has No Balls,” a project in which they placed statues of a naked Trump in five U.S. cities (Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle) at the same moment on the same day. Of the five statues, only one remains—the others were destroyed or vandalized—and will be sold to the highest bidder on May 2. Julien’s Auctions, which is handling the sale, estimates it will sell for between $20,000 and $30,000.

As for “The People’s Prison,” a member of the collective told artnet that the project took six months to come to fruition and that it was “inspired by the Russia investigation. The walls are kind of closing in for Trump… We wanted to imprison him within his castle.”

“The People’s Prison” exhibit (minus ‘Trump’ and his cell) will be at Gallery 30 South until May 20. Proceeds from the art on display will go to the Native American Rights Fund and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

For more information visit Gallery 30 South at http://gallery30south.com/indecline/ and indecline at https://thisisindecline.com/.

Gallery 30 South is located at 30 S. Wilson Ave. in Pasadena.