Preview

Blog
In the frame

Ben Turnbull’s Mad portrait of Donald Trump makes waves

Ben Turnbull, MADe In America, 2019 courtesy the artist

UK artist Ben Turnbull looks to the US for his latest works, on show at Bermondsey Art Space in south London (American History X volume III, Manifest Decimation, until 2 November). The show comprises seven large-scale collages that riff on contemporary America under its current colourful president. One of the pieces depicts Mr Trump whose striking features were created and shaped from cut-outs of Alfred E. Neuman, the Mad comics cover star whose geeky features are recognisable the world over (MADe in America). The artist says: “Using Mad seemed entirely logical. In fact, given the subject it would have been illogical to use any other. Of course, I wouldn’t describe Trump as being that himself, but since winning the presidency, he’s caused an entire nation to become slightly unhinged—not just his core, but his detractors, too.” Word reaches us that Turnbull offered the quirky work to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC but officials at the august institution politely turned him down apparently (perhaps this unconventional depiction of the great leader is a little too un-statesmanlike for comfort).