Joseph Anderson emerged from the swamps and salinity of sunny South Florida and found himself a senior at Gallatin. He studies power structures through the Western literary canon, the poetry of politics, and political in poetry. He is interested in how art becomes a force for liberation and oppression and how aesthetics are weaponized. He wonders why listening to Donald Trump feels like reading Gertrude Stein, why watching George W. Bush feels like reading Juan Bobo, and what implications these mirrorings have.
The year is 2017. Trump has cut the arts and built a wall between the US and Mexico. Killing two birds with one stone, Trump decides to build the wall out of famous works of art: weaponizing aesthetics, politicizing poetry. Trump reuses the curved metal sheets of Richard Serra’s sculptures, straightening them along the southern border. Trump transplants the rows of metal poles of De Maria’s “The Lightning Field” over the migrant’s path. Trump uproots the balloon dogs of Jeff Koons training them to sniff out drugs, replacing the more traditional German Shepherds, since balloon dogs don’t have to eat. How do we aestheticize violence? How is art weaponized? What happens when forms are forced to function, are futility contorted to utility? I hope to re-contextualize these canonical artworks and the border in a dystopian marriage of paint and pain, artistry, and ache.