About This Book
The 2021 Capitol Hill Riot marked a watershed moment when the 'old world' of factbased systems of representation was briefly overwhelmed by the emerging hyper-individual politics of aestheticized emotion. In The Trump Effect in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture, Kit Messham-Muir and Uroš Cvoro analyse the aesthetics that have emerged at the core of 21st-century politics, and which erupted at the US Capitol in January 2021. Looking at this event's aesthetic dimensions through such aspects as QAnon, white resentment and strongman authoritarianism, they examine the world-wide historical trends towards ethno-nationalism and populism that emerged following the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the dawning of the current post-ideological age. Building on their ground-breaking research into how trauma, emotion and empathy have become well-worn tropes in contemporary art informed by conflict, Messham-Muir and Cvoro go further by highlighting the ways in which art can actively disrupt an underlying drift in society towards white supremacism and ultranationalism. Utilising their outsiders' perspective on a so-called American phenomenon, and rejecting American exceptionalism, their theorising of the 'Trump Effect' rejects the idea of Trump as a political aberration, but as a symptom of deeper and longer-term philosophical shifts in global politics and society. As theorists of contemporary art and visual culture, Messham-Muir and Cvoro explore the ways in which these features of the Trump Effect operate through aesthetics, in the intersection of politics and contemporary art, and provide valuable insight into the current political context.