The Maddox Gallery in London’s Mayfair is to exhibit the controversial, micro-penis portrait of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, by the artist Illma Gore. The painting entitled ‘Make America Great Again’ features the provocative Trump fully nude and has been heavily censored and banned from public display online and in the USA.
Gender fluid Los Angeles based artist Illma Gore comments, “Make America Great Again was created to evoke a reaction from its audience, good or bad, about the significance we place on our physical selves. One should not feel defined by their penis size or vagina, as it does not determine who you are. Your genitals do not dictate your gender, your power, or your status. Simply put, you can be a massive prick, despite what is in your pants.”
The artist has received death threats from Trump supporters and is now unable to show the work in the USA. Gore recently received notice from Facebook that a third party has filed a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) infringement notice against her whilst an anonymous party has contacted Gore directly and threatened to sue if she sells the artwork, citing Trump’s right of publicity over commercial use of his likeness. In response to these threats, Gore has posted a hi-res version as a free download.
Many websites have removed the unauthorized drawing of Trump and in the past few weeks Gore has been repeatedly blocked by Facebook and asked to provide government ID to verify her identity. Her access is currently partially restored but without the ability to post images. The original image posted on Facebook by Gore on Feb 9 was shared 260,000 times and the image has been seen over 50 million times on the internet according to Imgur and Reddit statistics.
The latest ban message warned she risks permanent removal if she continues to violate Facebook’s policies, which include a ban on nudity. Nearly two dozen fans told Gore their accounts were suspended because of sharing undeleted earlier images of the art from Gore’s page.
On eBay, auctions for the original artwork twice have been deleted, one after reaching about $5,000. Gore says she sought out a preemptive green light for the sale and that eBay has not provided her a satisfactory explanation, instead offering a listing in a sexual goods section with limited geographic reach. Gore has vowed to not only put the image back up on eBay but to donate $100 to Bernie Sanders every time it’s taken down.
Despite being censored by the DMCA in USA, the artwork has gone viral since its release in February 2016, making headlines all over the work and garnering high profile support on social media from the likes of George Takei, Cher, Evan Rachel Wood, Ruby Rose and Perez Hilton.
The original illustration, never previously exhibited in a public gallery space, will be displayed at Maddox Gallery from 11 April 2016.
Illma Gore comments, “I’ve been overwhelmed by the public reaction to the piece. While it is obviously a great shame that I cannot exhibit it in the USA due to censorship and also threats from Trump supporters to harm both myself and the artwork, I am so excited that it will finally be exhibited in a gallery space where interested parties can come and see it ‘in the flesh’. London has always had such an open-minded attitude towards art and has regularly displayed works of art that push boundaries and cause controversy, it is the perfect place to show Make America Great Again.”
Maddox Gallery Director James Nicholls says, “This is a very contentious and interesting piece and there is a lot of interest and debate around it. Some may be offended but others will see the humour in Gore’s work. Maddox Gallery is giving London the chance to view the original artwork and make up their own minds.”
Maddox Gallery, 9 Maddox Street, London W1S 2QE.