Seeing Red: Menstrual Art and Political Portraiture in the Trump Era
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionRøstvik, C. M. (2023). Seeing Red: Menstrual Art and Political Portraiture in the Trump Era. Konsthistorisk tidskrift. https://doi.org/10.1080/00233609.2023.2280032
In the middle of the 2015 United States presidential election race, artist Sarah Levy made a portrait of candidate Donald Trump with her menstrual blood. The work referenced Trump’s comments about menstruation during a conversation with journalist Meghan Kelly, in which he said that she had ‘blood coming out of her wherever’. While much discussed in the media, the portrait has not received the critical art historical attention it deserves. This paper considers the artistic, cultural, political and aesthetic inspiration of the creation of the menstrual artwork ‘Whatever’ (Bloody Trump), the techniques and materiality of the portrait, and its subsequent reception in public, art institutional and media discourse. Drawing on interviews with the artist and critical visual analysis in the tradition of feminist art history, this paper argues that ‘Whatever’ (Bloody Trump) should be understood as an important artwork that aesthetically interprets and recalls the white supremacist politics and strong menstrual taboos of the Trump era.