RESIST! Make America Love Again/ The Weight of Words

RESIST! Make America Love Again/ The Weight of Words

The Weight of Words is an interactive performance piece by Michelle Hartney that addresses President Trump’s use of divisive, hate-filled language. Paper shredders will be installed at the Comfort Station, along with stacks of paper that contain sexist, racist, fascist, and homophobic Trump tweets and/or quotes. Visitors are invited to shred Trump’s words with the shredders, both as an act of catharsis and activism. The shredded paper will be used to stuff handmade ankle weights that have individual metal placards containing Trump's words, symbolizing the collective weight his compassionless rhetoric has had on the world.


During the exhibition a postcard writing station will be set up so viewers can write to both the White House and to their representatives.


Make America Love Again stickers will be given out free of charge throughout the duration of the performance.


The Paulina Hollers' Jim Becker and Lea Tshilds will play a full set of Woody Guthrie tunes during the show. They are writing music to go along with the lyrics of a recently discovered song Guthrie wrote in the 1950's about his landlord, Donald Trump Sr., condemning his racist ways:


"I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate

He stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts

When he drawed that color line...

...Beach Haven ain't my home!

No, I just can't pay this rent!

My money's down the drain,

And my soul is badly bent!

Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower

Where no black folks come to roam,

No, no, Old Man Trump!

Old Beach Haven ain't my home!"


In the 1970's the justice department sued our current president and his father for discrimination against African Americans for violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 in 39 of their buildings. This song is particularly relevant today after Trump's divisive statements following the violence that erupted during the white supremacist rally in Charleston.


The Paulina Hollers will also perform another Guthrie song that is sadly quite pertinent today given Trump's decision to end DACA. "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos" (also known as "Deportee") is a tune Guthrie wrote about a plane crash that killed 28 Mexican agriculture laborers being deported back to Mexico. The remains of the four crewmembers that died were returned to their families, but the 28 laborers were buried in a mass grave.


"Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,

Our work contract's out and we have to move on;

Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,

They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.


We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,

We died in your valleys and died on your plains.

We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,

Both sides of the river, we died just the same."


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The Virtue of the Vicious
1:00pm 1:00pm

The Virtue of the Vicious

Virtue of the Vicious presents an examination of the current political climate from the perspective of eight contemporary artists. Curated by Hyde Park Art Center’s Director of Exhibitions & Residency Programs Allison Peters Quinn, the exhibition features photography, sculpture, painting and video by Paul Stephen Benjamin, Kevin Blake, Jasmine Clark, Eric J. Garcia in collaboration with Luis Mayorga, Michelle Hartney, Jay Turner Frey Seawell and El Coyote Cojo (Emilio Rojas and Adela Goldbard). Patriotism manifests itself in the American landscape and culture in obvious and covert ways. Artists participating in the exhibition reconsider the pride, loyalty, ownership, discrimination, and fierceness that simultaneously characterize this conflicted allegiance in the current political climate through their artwork. 

Assessing the nation’s moral compass through visual clues in the landscape, cityscape, media imagery and historical anecdotes, artists evoke a range of emotions. The hopeful “Make American Love Again” campaign by artist Michelle Hartney quietly encourages compassion as a patriotic exercise, while an installation by the El Coyote Cojo collaborative illustrates the uncomfortable historical thread of the popular past time baseball, creating a metaphor for Mexican-American experience of loss and negation of identity. 

In his photographs, Jay Turner Frey Seawell frames Washington DC’s national monuments, architecture and government buildings, some in disrepair, as symbols for the relationship between citizens and the government. Eric J. Garcia’s graphic animation and sculpture criticize America’s culture of violence using the satirical tradition of political cartoons. For the exhibition, Garcia works with Luis Mayorga to create a new large scale animation, illustrating filter bubbles and distortive reporting in the news media. The title of the exhibition, taken from a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde, alludes to the complicated emotions associated with loving and supporting one’s country while not being proud of its’ actions.

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