Throughout her decades-long career in public service, Hillary Clinton has been an unwavering champion of arts and culture. As First Lady, in a 1997 speech calling for revitalization of public and private support for culture, Clinton described the arts as “essential … to the endurance of our democratic values of tolerance, pluralism, and freedom.” Her track record demonstrates a deep commitment to this belief.
In 1999, Clinton won the Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Award for Arts Advocacy for her work as First Lady. This work included helping inaugurate Save America’s Treasures, a federal program to preserve historically significant buildings, artworks, documents, and more; and fighting for the arts during the Culture Wars. As a Senator for New York, Clinton co-sponsored bills establishing a National Museum of African American History and Culture, a National Women’s History Museum, and a National Museum of the American Latino Community.As Secretary of State, she wrote a short piece for Vanity Fair about the Art in Embassies program:
Art is also a tool of diplomacy. It reaches beyond governments, past the conference rooms and presidential palaces, to help us connect with more people in more places. It is a universal language in our search for common ground, an expression of our shared humanity.
It’s not surprising, then, that Clinton has much of the art world’s vote. Wikipedia’s long list of “notable individuals” who have endorsed Clinton for president this year includes a whole section devoted to painters, sculptors, graphic designers, photographers, and performance artists.
Clinton’s opponent, meanwhile, represents a threat to basic freedoms of expression — artistic or otherwise. In April, the Republican nominee revealed much about his attitude toward artists when he threatened to sue an illustrator for drawing a nude portrait of him with a small penis. Though he’s served as a nightmarish muse for many, Donald Trump does not appear to have been endorsed by a single well-known artist.
With the end of this miserable election cycle just days away — in case you’re somehow still making up your mind — here is a partial list of the artists, designers, and photographers who want you to vote for Clinton.
This summer, feminist Pop artist Deborah Kass debuted “Vote Hillary,” a screenprint inspired by Andy Warhol’s “Vote McGovern,” made during the 1972 election, which featured Republican candidate Richard Nixon’s dour face. Kass was one of many artists who donated work to Gagosian’s “Art for Hillary Auction 2016,” a benefit sale that raised money for Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Carrie Mae Weems
Inspired by President Barack Obama’s address to the Congressional Black Caucus, artist Carrie Mae Weems created a video plea to vote for Clinton. Called “The Power of Your Vote,” it was shot on the streets of Jackson Heights, Queens, one of New York City’s most diverse neighborhoods.
“This is the most important election of our lifetimes,” Weems said in a statement about the video on Clinton’s website. “And I think people are disheartened by the political system. Even as Obama has been in office, we have more black men dying on the streets through systems of police brutality than we can remember in our time. … Democracy is hanging in the balance, and there is only one choice — Hillary Clinton.”
Multimedia artist Laura Parnes directed the music video for “I’m With Her,” Le Tigre’s pro-Clinton song.
To raise money for Clinton’s campaign, Chuck Close produced two prints featuring his portraits of the candidate, one in an edition of 100 selling for $5,000 each, and another, much larger print, in an edition of five, available for $50,000.
— Susan Danziger (@susandanziger) July 7, 2015
Los Angeles-based performance artist Zackary Drucker, who’s also a producer on the show Transparent, joined Trans United for Hillary, a national volunteer effort to incite transgender people, their allies, families, and friends to elect Clinton.
— Zackary Drucker (@zackarydrucker) February 26, 2016
Discussing Trump with New York magazine — for whom she just designed an anti-Trump cover — artist Barbara Kruger called the Republican candidate “just a mix of thug and clown, an injured damaged child in a playground who knows how to hurt other children.” Kruger also donated work to Gagosian’s “Art for Hillary Auction 2016.”
New York-based artist Wendy White is a vocal Clinton supporter. Along with her pro-Hillary paintings, her Hillary T-shirt designs were sold at a Hillary Victory Fund event on Humboldt Street in Brooklyn, along with works donated by artists including Richard Serra and Fred Tomaselli. “I’m supporting Hillary for so many reasons,” White told ArtNews. “She supports the issues I hold most dear. She was an amazing senator for New York. She never gives up. And she’s a goddamn genius who inspires me daily.”
A photo posted by wendy white (@dubz19) on
Artist Cindy Sherman also donated work to the “Art for Hillary Auction 2016.” She also bears a striking resemblance to a young Clinton in the 2000 self-portrait “Untitled #404,” which was featured in Imitation of Life, a recent exhibition at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles.
— Chloe Castellón (@chloteris) July 27, 2016
Photographer Annie Leibovitz has been documenting the Clintons since the early 1990s. In its endorsement of Clinton, Vogue reprinted this glamor shot taken by Leibovitz in 1993.
“I just gave an artwork to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and a lot of artists are doing that,” artist Sarah Sze told the Guardian in a recent interview. “We’re at a very critical point in the US and I wanted to do anything I could to see things move in a better direction. Everyone needs to do something. There is this great sense still of: oh, of course that won’t happen, but at each point so far it has been predicted very poorly.” According to the Federal Election Commission, Sze also donated $21,000 to Clinton’s presidential campaign in September.
Michael Bierut and Paula Scher
Michael Bierut is the mastermind designer behind Clinton’s campaign logo. With fellow Pentagram partner, Paula Scher, he also designed a series of pins for the campaign.
— Michael Bierut (@michaelbierut) October 17, 2016
Ryan and Trevor Oakes
Identical twin artist duo Ryan and Trevor Oakes were among those who donated work to the “Art for Hillary Auction 2016″ at Gagosian.
Doug Drexler and Rick Sternbach
Dozens of Star Trek veterans and relative newcomers — including J.J. Abrams and George Takei — signed a statement endorsing Trek Against Trump, an unaffiliated fan group that encourages all Trekkies to vote for Clinton on Election Day. Among them were Doug Drexler, who worked as a designer, digital artist, and effects artist on the Star Trek franchise, and illustrator Rick Sternbach, best known for his space illustrations and his work on the Star Trek television series.
“Either Secretary Clinton or Mr. Trump will occupy the White House,” the Trek Against Trump signatories wrote. “One is an amateur with a contemptuous ignorance of national laws and international realities, while the other has devoted her life to public service, and has deep and valuable experience with the proven ability to work with Congress to pass desperately needed legislation. … If, as some say, the government is broken, a protest vote will not fix it.”
“The visual arts are often neglected. Hillary Clinton has always supported the arts,” Jeff Koons told German art magazine Monopol in a recent interview. “She closely follows the developments in the art world. … The election reflects the sad state in which the USA currently finds itself. I’ve supported Hillary Clinton for a long time. She is very well-informed and is a brilliant personality. Aside from that, Donald Trump just isn’t the suitable person for the presidency.”
We disagree with Koons on many points, but we’re with him on this one.
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.