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one generation away

Museum Link: https://app.museumofcryptoart.com/collection/the-permanent-collection?collection=0xb932a70a57673d89f4acffbe830e8ed7f75fb9e0&token=9185&page=3

Source Link:  https://superrare.com/artwork-v2/one-generation-away-9185

Date Minted:  March 31, 2020

Artist Description: "freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction" - ronald reagan | i long for the days when a tv star could lead a country. and i think for some  this is the idea they had in their head when they elected mr. trump president. but our current reality tv star is an egomaniacal wannabe dic(k)tator who only cares about his ratings. he does not care about the health, wealth, and well-being of the citizens. he only cares about his friends' deep pockets and setting his cronies up for success. but i feel I've seen this all before. no, no. not that guy in russia. but in a different part of the world. a different time. i mean: his base - as they call it - has a demographic look about it and they have a well-known set of beliefs about minorities. sounds a bit like wwwii germany, no? in fact our dude has already locked minorities up in prison camps just for just being minorities. so this is a warning. if you don't pay attention you just might miss all the signs right in front of you. | "if you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." - adolf hitler 

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

"’Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction" - ronald reagan | i long for the days when a tv star could lead a country. and i think for some this is the idea they had in their head when they elected mr. trump president. but our current reality tv star is an egomaniacal wannabe dic(k)tator who only cares about his ratings. he does not care about the health, wealth, and well-being of the citizens. he only cares about his friends' deep pockets and setting his cronies up for success. but i feel I've seen this all before. no, no. not that guy in russia. but in a different part of the world. a different time. i mean: his base - as they call it - has a demographic look about it and they have a well-known set of beliefs about minorities. sounds a bit like wwwii germany, no? in fact our dude has already locked minorities up in prison camps just for just being minorities. so this is a warning. if you don't pay attention you just might miss all the signs right in front of you. | "if you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed." - adolf hitler”

This is how artist Secondrealm (now EricPRhodes) presents his firestorm of a political artwork one generation away, with a fire and brimstone denunciation of former U.S. President Donald Trump. When this piece was minted in March of 2020, much of Trump’s infamous legacy hadn’t even yet been solidified: the fraudulent election lie, the January 6th riot incitement, the being deplatformed from Twitter for calling his supporters to arms. Yet, Rhodes had a prophetic understanding about the former president, tying Trump’s actions to Hitler’s Third Reich rhetoric almost a year before the actions that most tellingly bind them would take place. 

One generation away is not coy about the fiery attitude of its artist. In all three of the figures presented within this artwork —Trump, Hitler, and former President Ronald Reagan— skin tones have been oversaturated and exaggerated with hues of orange, red, and yellow, all of it mimicking a literal fire, a fire that consumes everything, within the frame and outside of it. In the foreground, Trump, smirking, waves endlessly at an invisible audience, his hand metronomically swinging back and forth automatically, as if he is not in control of his own actions. Behind him, he is lorded over by the giant specters of two deceased former political powers, Adolf Hitler, who is set in the upper-center of the piece and looks out at us, the audience, with vicious intensity, and Reagan, who takes Hitler’s place and is positioned towards the upper-left the image, his face upturned slightly, his background a segment of the American flag. Whether these two characters are being portrayed as the political parents who birthed a Trump child, or whether they are the devil and the angel on Trump’s allegorical shoulders, or whether one generation away showcases a devolution of morality, well that’s hard to really know. What is clear, however, is that these three characters are presented as integrally connected, the three sections of a trinity. 

This is not the first time Rhodes has connected Trump to Hitler, or Trump’s rhetoric to nazism. From the perspective of a Jew, I can clearly see the connection here between the characters, especially Trump and Hitler, though where my reaction to this link is fear/sorrow/uncertainty, I find it interesting that Rhodes is anger. And again, anger blazes through this piece’s four corners. Anger in the smugness on Trump’s face. Anger in the murderous gaze of Hitler above him. Anger even upon the skin of the generally cordial and compassionate Ronald Reagan, who, whatever you think of him as a president, was generally considered to be a good and decent man. 

But that’s the thing about fire, it burns whatever is nearest. And the flame Rhodes has conflagrated upon Trump’s body touches everything, including Ronald Reagan and the American flag, which I presume —gauging from where this flame stems emotionally— are dear to Rhodes’ heart. 

Quietly, upon Trump’s suit jacket, the ubiquitous American Flag pin morphs into a Nazi Swastika, and yet the emotion on Trump’s face never changes. The two faces above him are positioned almost like puppeteers, with Trump’s smile and waving hand missing only the visible strings. The ghost of Reagan plays him like a puppet. So does the ghost of Hitler. In neither circumstance is there any individual thought, a nod perhaps to another of Rhodes’ Trump-centric pieces, think for yourself. Regardless, what technical knowhow Rhodes has left off this piece, he has replaced admirably with heightened emotionality, one that bleeds off of the frame itself. Even without the explanatory Artist Description, we would easily find ourselves facing the same feelings which consumed Rhodes at the time of this piece’s creation. It marks itself at a certain place and time for a certain man, a kind of guidepost telling us who was here, what they felt, and when, and why. It is all the tangled answers for the many questions we might not know we had. Rhodes reveals himself, and leaves nothing to languish away in the dark.