“You’re fired!” says Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to an impeached Donald Trump, ripping off his trademark catchphrase from his days as a reality-TV persona to show him the way out of the White House. This wishful scene is part of a new ad takeover featuring satirical posters in phone booths and bus stations across New York City, some of which have already entered a museum collection.
The posters are the work of A Presidential Parody, a collaboration between the actress, comedian, and activist Maia Lorian and street artist Abe Lincoln Jr. The two artists created posters for a fake TV show called The Impeachment starring the president and Speaker Pelosi. The new show, the poster says, is brought to us by the producers of Monica and Bill: White House Gone Wild!
In a language the mimics Trump’s obsession with TV ratings, the ads market the new series as “the number one most anticipated television event of the century!”
One of these “impeachment” posters was strategically placed next to the Federal Hall National Memorial in the financial district, where the first Congress convened; the Bill of Rights was created; and the country’s first president, George Washington, was sworn in. Other posters can be seen in various locations in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
A second poster in the ad takeover targets Trump’s adult children. Titled “Nepotists for Trump,” the poster shows the president’s children Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., thanking their father for his role in boosting them to become a real estate mogul, fashion designer, and … world leader. A caption below reads: “Because you’re not just voting for the president, you’re voting for spoiled rich kids everywhere.”
This is Lorian and Lincoln Jr.’s second ad takeover this year, which they have dubbed “the second season.” Their “first season” was a series of four posters lampooning Trump Tower (“Luxury Living for the Morally Bankrupt”), Trump’s Miss Universe beauty pageant (“Miss Oligarchy Pageant”), Ivanka’s clothing line (“‘Ivanka Trumps’ Sweatshops for Women“), and Trump’s restaurants (“The Best Place for Zero Taste” — Cheetos, anyone?). The guerilla campaign also included a live performance piece in the form of an “open house” for Trump Tower at Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
All of the posters from the first edition of the campaign are now part of the permanent collection of the Poster House, a New York museum that opened earlier this year.
“Like many Americans, I felt incredibly depressed when Trump became President,” Lorian tells Hyperallergic in an email conversation.
Coming from a background of comedy, Lorian first reacted to Trump’s election by creating political memes. “They were well received, and it felt good to voice my opinion about what was happening while uniting people with laughter because at this point it’s kind of like a laugh or cry situation,” she writes. She later invited Lincoln Jr., who has experience in ad takeovers, to collaborate on A Presidential Parody. “The posters nearly wrote themselves,” she says.
It might take a while, but the posters are always eventually removed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) or by the private company that operates phone booths in New York, the artists tell Hyperallergic. “The longest standing poster from season one was catty corner to Trump International, which was great, lasted at that location for about 4 months,” Lorian writes.
How are people reacting? Unsurprisingly, Lincoln Jr. says, “[W]hen we catch people who do see them the reaction is usually a good laugh.” He adds, “We’ve had nothing but positive responses from people who post pictures online.”
New York City, the artists say, is only their first stop.