America’s newest ex-president became an overnight relic in England last week when the Museum of London, a treasure house of history dating back to the stone age, added the bawling, diaper-clad Trump Baby Balloon to its artifact collection. The inflatable had toured the world since it was unveiled in 2018.

First date

In 2018 when Trump made his first official visit to the capital city, the balloon sailed over Parliament Square during an anti-Trump protest. In commemoration of that event, the inflatable has been added to the collection joining the museum’s Paleolithic bear skull among other relics.

Big baby

Museum director Sharon Aments said that by accepting Trump Baby into its collection, the institution could record a new page in London’s history. Hyperallergic has the director further saying that the balloon tells the story of “Londoners banding together in the face of extreme adversity.” The group that produced the balloon had the same idea, telling Artnet News that it was a donation to the museum so that future generations can know the push back against Trump while in office.

No illusions

But Matt Bonner, activist-designer for the Trump Baby team, is not all that optimistic. In a statement, he said that while the blimp has been consigned to history, “we’re under no illusions that this is the end of the story.” He said he could only hope that placing the balloon in the history museum will move people “to examine how they can continue the fight against the politics of hate.”

Naked truth

Given all the emotion that Trump generated, you’d think that he was suitable for artmaking regarding creativity.

But the opposite was right and good for Time magazine for making the point last year in a story by Judy Berman on January 5, 2021, headlined “Donald Trump's Presidency Was Supposed to Be Great for Art. It Wasn't.” One example given was the 2016 life-size statue of the soon-to-be president with no clothes on. The question that raises its beleaguered head was is this art or just body-shaming?

Is it art, or is it hate-mongering?

The arts certainly did suffer during Trump’s tenure. But, while I applaud Time magazine for pointing out that Trump’s philistine attitude “intensified an enmity between the arts community and the right,” I doubt it began with him. I’m guessing it happened back in the ’80s when the right got a look at Robert Mapplethorpe’s homoerotic photography and never got over it.

Kidding around

But Time rightly talked about the emotional toll on artists from the “wildly accelerated news cycle” full of horror stories like children in cages. If you wonder about the upshot of that on creating and making art, I submit projects like Trump Baby Balloon or Jennifer Rubell installation last year titled “Ivanka Vacuuming” at Flashpoint Gallery D.C. All there was to see was a look-alike model of Trump’s favorite daughter vacuuming breadcrumbs tossed on the gallery floor by exhibit visitors.

Artists paid so much attention to all things Trump that it took over the creative mind, and the art story of this day is that Trump Baby Balloon made it into the Museum of London.