ARTS & CULTURE

Activist Artist Lights Up Trump Hotel With 'Message' From Putin

"Happy to help, bro."

08/08/2017 17:04 EDT | Updated 08/09/2017 14:22 EDT

On Monday night, the Trump Soho Hotel in New York City was illuminated with a message attributed to Vladimir Putin. 

In reality, the message was from Robin Bell, a Washington, D.C.-based artist and activist who has repeatedly projected graphics condemning the Trump administration onto high-profile buildings associated with the president. 

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The most recent graphic intervention read “Happy to help, bro.” The phrase, featured alongside a black-and-white image of Putin set against a Russian flag, is likely a nod to the ongoing probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

A second projection, also written across a Russian flag, read “Follow the money,” alluding to the U.S. special counsel’s current investigation into money laundering that may have occurred during the Trump Hotel’s development. Both messages flashed in both English and Russian, and, as Bell explained on Twitter, came just in time for #nationaldollarday. 

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Protestors dressed in Russian military uniforms also participated in the art happening by standing in front of the hotel and waving Russian flags. The intervention went on for around 15 minutes, but thanks to iPhone cameras and a little thing called Twitter, the piece lives on online.

Earlier this year, Bell, known for using art to call out what he sees as the White House’s corrupt and unjust practices, projected an image of Jeff Sessions dressed as a Klansman outside the Department of Justice. He also projected the phrases “Pay Trump bribes here” and “Emoluments welcome” onto the exterior of Trump International Hotel. Another piece read, quite simply: “Experts agree: Trump is a pig.”

We really want the focus to be on the Trump administration and the people around him who are breaking the law,” Bell explained to artnet News. “Last night was a very sight specific projection on the Trump Soho because this is where we believe that some of the money that was laundered via the Russian government [was invested] and where some of the investors of that hotel came from.”

Welcome to Battleground, where art and activism meet.

HPMG