A new work of art titled End of the World and starring Donald Trump is set to be unveiled tomorrow, created by controversy-stirring New York painter Robert Cenedella — known as the “Art Bastard”.
The painting is set to be put on display in the window of Central Park Fine Arts in New York City, a mid-town Manhattan art gallery, just a week before the election.
The 5 x 9 foot triptych (a nod to The Garden of Earthly Delights, a surreal three-panel painting by Flemish Renaissance master Hieronymous Bosch whose style has influenced Cenedella) sets the orange-haired Republican Presidential candidate, Devil’s pitchfork in hand, at the center of the crowded canvas where hordes of people are headed to Hell…
Trump is surrounded by an apocalyptic vision of the current American political landscape, rampant with images of environmental degradation, corporate greed and political corruption. Faces from former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, Ted Cruz and Adolph Hitler, among many others, pop up.
The Liberty Bell in the foreground is emblazoned with the names of black men shot by the police in the US. A misshapen headless woman vomits on Trump’s head. She is supposed to be the sarcastic antithesis of the objectified female beauty contestants vying for the crown of Miss Universe, a pageant Trump ran for many years.
Officially titled Fin del Mundo, Spanish for End of the World, the painting was commissioned last spring by a client agitated by the divisiveness stirred up by Trump’s Presidential bid.
“This project caught my fancy because of the political situation,” says Cenedella. “I was able to incorporate the entire Donald Trump fiasco in this one mural.” He chose the Spanish title “because of the insults that Donald Trump has made against Spanish speaking people and in particular Mexicans.”
As evidenced by this year’s well-received documentary “Art Bastard” which traces Cenedella’s quirky and fascinating career, this is by no means the first time he has courted controversy.
In the 1960s he styled himself as the anti-Warhol, putting on the Yes Show, an exhibit that parodied the Prince of Pop.
The show became a press sensation. “Everything I did as a joke was done later and taken seriously, raising the question of what is and isn’t the standard for calling something a work of art, which was really the whole point of the show,” he observes.
The biggest flap came over Cenedellas’s painting The Presence of Man, which features Santa Claus on a cross replacing Christ, a commentary on the crass commercialization of Christmas.
The painting was set to be part of a one-man show for the New York headquarters of Saatchi & Saatchi. But the ad agency blanched when it saw the picture and cancelled the entire exhibit.
The Santa painting reappeared during the 1997 holiday season, in a front window of The Art Students League where Cenedella once was a student under German artist George Grosz and where he now teaches.
Worldwide coverage was sparked along with much controversy and outrage. “To use a current expression, it went viral overnight,” the painter recalls.
It remains to be seen whether that history repeats itself when the Trump-themed End of The World officially debuts tomorrow.