Trump-Russia protests: 5 of the most shocking - and bizarre - acts of American rebellion

Does life imitate art, or does art imitate 'The Resistance'?

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 30 July 2018 16:14
comments
Activist Jeff Jetton, bare chested and wearing a mask to portray Russia's President Vladimir Putin, sits on the Wall Street bull sculpture covered with sex toys in a still image from video taken in New York City, U.S. July 16, 2018.
Activist Jeff Jetton, bare chested and wearing a mask to portray Russia's President Vladimir Putin, sits on the Wall Street bull sculpture covered with sex toys in a still image from video taken in New York City, U.S. July 16, 2018.

Protest art in the era of Donald Trump has yielded some truly fascinating commentary about US-Russia relations.

Sometimes, however, that commentary is just downright bizarre.

Russians — or at least American pranksters — have appeared in tourist hotspots, government buildings and cultural landmarks ever since the president became a frontrunner in the Republican 2016 primaries. Demonstrators have said their art reflects on the Kremlin’s increasing influence across the country, and Vladimir Putin’s seemingly unusual relationship with the president.

Here are some of the most controversial protests that have managed to illicit national attention.

Donald Trump kissing Vladimir Putin

The mural, painted by Lithuanian artist Mindaugas Bonanu, shows both men holding each other’s faces and passionately making out. The painting appeared in the Baltic capital Vilnius prior to the 2016 presidential election, and was one of the first viral images portraying Mr Trump and Mr Putin in a homosexual relationship — a recurring theme in protest art that has received backlash online.

World leaders passionately embracing each other in artwork is nothing new, however. The mural was influenced by a painting on the Berlin Wall of East German leader Erich Honecker kissing Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, created by artist Dmitry Vrubel.

Hammer and Sickle appears in GOP billboard

Anne Landman, a liberal blogger who was frustrated by the president’s performance during his Helsinki summit with Mr Putin, paid to erect an eye-grabbing billboard along a major highway in Colorado.

The billboard is a red and gold sign advertising the GOP, however, the "O" is replaced by a Soviet-era hammer and sickle.

The hammer and sickle was adopted by several communist movements around the world after its use in the Russian Revolution. "The billboard seems to be a lightning rod for the frustration of people with the Trump administration, and what it is doing to our country," Ms Landman told the Daily Sentinel.

She’s since received over a thousand dollars in donations to continue erecting similar billboards throughout the state.

Fake Russian guards protecting Trump's Walk of Fame star

The Russians are coming — and they aren't happy about vandalizations in Hollywood.

Men dressed in Russian soldier uniforms stood over the president’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star last week after a series of attacks against the small cement square on the iconic street block.

First, James Otis destroyed Mr Trump’s Walk of Fame star two years ago, using a pickax to tear the cement to shreds. Then, Austin Clay destroyed the star again last week using the same tool. Mr Otis later bailed Mr Clay out of jail in an incredible show of solidarity.

The Russian soldiers appeared to reflect the Kremlin’s continued support of the US president, despite looming federal investigations which could reveal their alleged collusion.

Putin appears among presidential portraits

A portrait of the Russian president appeared in Colorado’s State capitol hall of fame for presidential portraits — where a picture of Mr Trump should instead have been placed.

The state has yet to raise the $10,000 needed for a portrait of Mr Trump, so a prankster came up with a creative replacement.

Mr Putin's portrait was emblazoned with ornate gold detailing, showing the Russian president looking straight ahead with a serious demeanour. The picture was not discovered until a tour was passing by, presumably leading to double takes and confusion.

Activist Jeff Jetton, bare chested and wearing a mask to portray Russia's President Vladimir Putin, sits on the Wall Street bull sculpture covered with sex toys in a still image from video taken in New York City, U.S. July 16, 2018.

Putin goes for a ride on the Wall Street bull

Apparently, disguising himself as the Russian president and mounting the large statue of a bull in the middle of Wall Street wasn't enough for activist Jeff Jetton. He took his display to the extreme by suctioning dozens of dildos all over the bull, as if forming a shield around the bronze sculpture and Mr Putin.

The dildos were all shapes and sizes — rainbow, purple, black and blue sex toys surrounded Mr Jetton during his demonstration, as he wore boots, green pants and a hat. The outfit was similar to that of a famous photo of Mr Putin disseminated by Russian state media of the world leader riding a horse.

"Anybody who tells you sex toys aren’t good tools of resistance has never had a bag of dicks and a little bit of ingenuity," Mr Jetton told HuffPost in a statement.

The activist said police laughed as they called him to the police station for a non-criminal cove violation citation. Over 130 dildos were included in the demonstration, being generously donated by an adult entertainment company.

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