Artist Illma Gore has had her Facebook account suspended, received thousands of death threats from strangers, and faces potential lawsuits for her infamous drawing of a nude Donald Trump — and now she bears the bruises from a physical assault by an anonymous Trump supporter. Last week, while Gore was walking alone to an art supply store in her neighborhood in Los Angeles, a car full of men pulled up by her and “yelled slurs and swears,” as she told Hyperallergic; one then got out and struck her on the face, shouting “Trump 2016” and laughing.
The car, perpetrator inside, drove away, but Gore quickly filed a police report after the incident. The case has not yet had any leads, but she describes her attacker as “a six-foot-tall, thin white guy with a red cap, around 25ish” and said that people have recognized and at times approached her ever since she first shared the drawing with the public in February.
Titled “Make America Great Again,” the work that features the presumptive Republican nominee with a small penis is currently on view at Maddox Gallery in London, from which Gore had just returned. It is priced at the exorbitantly high ~1.4 million USD and has not yet sold, but if it does, Gore intends to donate a portion to Safe Place for Youth, a LA-based homeless shelter for youth.
“I suppose art is supposed to evoke an emotion, and although I should never have been hit, it’s kind of indicative of where we are right now,” she told Hyperallergic, adding that she has no regrets about executing the work despite all the distress she has since experienced.
“I would draw it again,” she said. “I think it was important — it’s been hard, but this is how we find the truth. It’s more important to talk about the casual violence and what we’re seeing in this whole thing, where I’ve been censored and shut up and now punched.
“I would hate for artists to sit idly by and let things happen … for them to think to just shut up and be quiet. Because if it happened to me I’m sure it would happen to any other artist.”
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.