Trump's NEA Gives $25,000 to Artist Who Painted 'F**k Trump'

Artist says a pottery wheel can 'kill hate'

Artist Roberto Lugo / Youtube
March 7, 2018

The Trump administration gave $25,000 to support an artist and social activist whose works include "F**k Trump."

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, Md., funding last month for a new installation by Roberto Lugo, a ceramics artist who claims his pottery wheel can "kill hate."

Lugo's work at an exhibition in Philadelphia in 2016 featured a self-portrait on a ceramic teapot in front of the giant words "F**k Trump" as well as a Bernie Sanders pot with the words "Feel the Bern."

"We've written about Roberto Lugo before and we still can't get over how cool it was that he painted 'This machine kills hate,' a reference to Guthrie's 'This machine kills fascists,' on his potter's wheel," wrote the CFile Foundation, a nonprofit group of "ceramics creatives."

"With that in mind, you shouldn't be surprised at the ease with which he turns his vases toward social and political messages," the group said.

Lugo, a self-described "ghetto potter," aims to "confront issues such as poverty and civil rights."

"Confronting stereotypes, civil rights, poverty and immigration; Lugo uses his traditional porcelain forms to address issues that have affected and afflicted his life head on," CFile said.

"He does not shy away from personal struggles or politically charged issues," said Victoria Rosenberger, a representative of the Wexler Gallery, which hosted Lugo's anti-Trump exhibition. "Instead, he uses them to fuel the fire of his kiln, and ultimately, to communicate a new version of history where, as Roberto would say, a pottery wheel can kill hate."

Taxpayers will fund Lugo's new exhibition in Baltimore. The NEA grant will "support a project featuring contemporary artist Roberto Lugo, invited to make new work and create an installation using the museum's ceramics collection."

Other past works include ceramics to honor Barack Obama, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Trayvon Martin. Lugo also has made "stencils of the Black Panthers against a confederate flag."

"These works are memorials to people of color, many of whom were slain by police, and celebrations of figures who have persisted," wrote "Lugo meditates on histories of power and art, but roots his work in his own heritage and experiences."

Request for comment from the NEA was not immediately returned. Lugo did not immediately return comment on whether he was comfortable receiving funding from the Trump administration, given his anti-Trump work.

President Donald Trump has eyed the elimination of the NEA as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in his budgets. Congress has not taken the Trump administration's recommendation.

Last month the NEA said it was "disappointed" in Trump's budget for fiscal year 2019, which would cut the NEA's funding from $150 million to $29 million to begin phasing out the agency.

"We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals in thousands of communities and in every congressional district in the nation," said NEA chairman Jane Chu, an Obama appointee.

Published under: Donald Trump