Step into the basement of the Casket Arts Building and you’ll find a streetscape: three identical row houses, each lawn packed with satirical political signs.
In front of the first house: “We’re stuck with her.” “Bill for First Lady.” “You’re either UTERUS or against us.”
Next door: “Put the BIG back in bigot! (Yuge!)” “Ignorance and Arrogance ‘16.” “Tony Clifton 2016.”
Artists Preston Drum and Russ White created the installation, “This Lawn Is My Lawn,” to lampoon this year’s election. But “the piece is ultimately a commentary not on the candidates, but the supporters,” White said. At a time of rabid Facebook posts, the identical homes remind people that “we’re all the same,” he said. “We’re all Americans; we all want to live in a place with a nice yard.
“We just fill it up with our own brand of crazy.”
White, known for his tightly-controlled, photo-realistic drawings, thought Drum, who often builds large-scale works with cardboard, could bring “a little more looseness to it that would be good for the project.” The men first met via another piece of political satire, one White created around Republican Jesse Helms. Drum recognized Helms and the two artists realized they were both from North Carolina.
For "This Lawn Is My Lawn," the artists first created the backdrop. Then they got to the fun part, White said: “Sitting around, spit-balling, coming up with funny signs.” The pair had no trouble compiling Trump quips, he said, “as he’s so obviously easy to lampoon.” But they thought it was important not to pick sides. They even took jabs at third-party politics.
“No, we definitely need to make fun of everybody,” White said.
See the piece Nov. 3, during First Thursdays at the Casket Arts Building.
Photo by Preston Drum.