Anonymous activist art collective, Indecline, made headlines with a series of illegal art displays. In the summer of 2016, amidst the presidential campaign, the unidentified artists erected a 6-foot-5 clay and silicone sculpture depicting a naked Donald Trump on the streets of San Francisco. The sculpture elicited a sensational reaction from the public, with similar displays popping up in well-trafficked areas of San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Cleveland, and Los Angeles. The massive Trump figure, complete with brutally exaggerated features, was quickly seized by San Francisco police. However, the anonymous collective shows no sign of stopping these illegal art displays any time soon.
With a clear political agenda, the group intends to tackle a series of controversial issues, including gun violence. One such display planned for Las Vegas, a site in which 58 people were killed as a result of gun violence, aims to address the ongoing problem of mass shootings.
In Oakland, California, the activist art group tore down commercial billboards and transformed the advertisements into tents for the homeless population. Another project converted a suite in Manhattan’s Trump Internal Hotel and Tower into a presidential jail infested with rats. Other displays included the hanging of clownish Ku Klux Klan effigies from Bryan Park trees following a deadly white supremacist rally in Richmond, Virginia.
Moving towards a more satirical and abrasive approach to political commentary the group has made statements to suggest a future partnership with PornHub in order to direct their first satirical political pornographic film. The artists expressed plans to recruit Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who was allegedly paid by President Donald Trump to deny their sexual relationship.
While some celebrate Indecline for their unconventional approach to political art, others remain highly critical of the blatant, controversial, and unfiltered subject matter.
The artists plan to carry on their public displays of political opposition despite their actions being deemed criminal. Not only are these art displays illegal, but the majority of them are felonies, making anonymity essential to their mission. With authorities swiftly taking down their pieces, the anonymous activist art collective continue to document their work to distribute the message via social media.
While other street artists, such as Banksy, have monetized on their political pieces, Indecline relies on donations and the selling of merchandise to help fund projects. As they continue to release new content, the question becomes whether or not such messaging would elicit as much conversation if done without the element of criminality and controversy.