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Arts and Entertainment

L.A.'s Naked Trump Statue Will Be Auctioned To The Highest Bidder

'The Emperor Has No Balls' (Photo by Annie Lesser/LAist)
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The life-size naked Donald Trump statue that appeared on Hollywood Boulevard earlier this month amid much hype and controversy could soon be yours, or at least someone's: it will go up for auction in October.

A number of Naked Trump statues popped up simultaneously across the country courtesy of guerilla-art collective INDECLINE, but Los Angeles' is believed to be the only one that wasn't dismantled or defaced, likely thanks to the intervention of a nearby art gallery. After hearing that statues in other cities were being taken down, La Luz De Jesus Gallery director Matt Kennedy and several members of his staff moved the statue to safety on their stoop, where "people could still see it in public, without it being on public property," according to Kennedy.

The statue, which features the Republican currently remains on display at La Luz de Jesus, will hit the auction block on October 22, joining work by acclaimed artists including Bansky, Keith Haring, John Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Shepard Fairey in a street art-focused collection at Julien's Auctions. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will benefit an immigration advocacy group because, as Kennedy told LAist, they figured that "if it was going to be auctioned, we should be putting money toward something that Donald Trump is against. Being in Los Angeles, in such a diverse and culturally significant neighborhood, [a group supporting immigration and immigrant rights] seemed like the natural selection." Kennedy told LAist that he's communicated with the statue's creators about the auction and they are "really excited about it."

Less excited overall were the people who drove all the way up from Orange County (of course they were from Orange County) to complain about the statue at the gallery. In the best detail of all time, they also threatened to do everything they could to make sure that La Luz's Yelp rating fell to one star. They don't appear to have been super successful, as the gallery currently sits at the 4.5 star mark.

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Indignation over the statues hasn't been limited to the purview of Trump supporters and conservatives; many progressives have publicly blasted it as being body-shaming and vaguely transphobic (the statue depicts the Republican nominee with a super teeny weenie).

"I understand the concerns...but when you take into consideration the full range of things that Donald Trump has been saying, and when you read the title of the statue on the bottom—the title is 'The Emperor Has No Balls,' paying reference to the Hans Christian Anderson story about a person of relative power who had absolutely no common sense or ability to do things correctly—it plays off not only the fact that he's made comments about his own endowment, but also that he's someone who's made petty and surface level attacks at people, so it's a little bit of his own medicine," Kennedy said.

From an art standpoint, Kennedy was also interested in what the statue's role had to say about American politics as a whole. "If you look at the 2008 election, you have that Shepard Fairey piece 'Hope,' which becomes this really important touchstone for the election, and important historically," he said, positing that Naked Trump could potentially become as synonymous with the 2016 election as "Hope" has become with '08.

"It really says something about the difference in politics now, that this piece is probably going to be the art piece most associated with the election. In this short period of time, just eight years, the way that people look at things and what you have to say in order to get heard has changed so much," Kennedy said. In his view, Naked Trump "really captures the essence of the nastiness of this election cycle."

If you'd like to capture that essence for your living room, the October auction will be conducted live and online in two sessions. La Luz de Jesus will also be having it three-dimensionally scanned for posterity.

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