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Parodying Political: The Art Of Eric Yahnker

This election has turned America into a ridiculous, embarrassing, hyperbolic monster of ideologies.

Intentional or not, on the right or wrong side of history, everyone has played their part in the grand parody of the United States in 2016. We all had our roles—The Protestor. The Conservative. The Liberal. The Racist. The Third Party Voter.—and today it all comes to an end. Hopefully.

Folding everything up politically and culturally is the work of artist Eric Yahnker who creates across various disciplines to add witty, sharp commentary on politics today. His work suggests the disgusting oddity of American culture (and therefore American politics) while wholly embracing the monster that we’ve become.

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His work plays two roles, typically depending on the format but they are ultimately interrelated. First, there are pencil and charcoal drawings of pop culture and political figures fused together in a way that is more beautiful and biting than any expert Photoshop™ mashing. There is a loving glow with bitter underline to the pieces, where you have Hillary Clinton tongue pierced and bawdy like a third Banger Sister or Gollum in a giddy grimace donning a #MAGA cap. His work is at the intersection of us at our worst and best, putting the two together to make a passionate shrug.

The other aspect of his work are conceptual sculptures that take found items and cast them in a different context for grim hysterics. Take Exceptional Suicide, a work that recreates the American flag via Dick Cheney’s conservative 2015 manifesto Exceptional atop of French sociologist’s Émilie Durkheim’s Suicide, a book explores the nature of killing oneself. It’s a bitter, beautiful juxtaposition that is as rich as it is everyday.

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And that’s the joy of his political parodies: they’re for everyone. Yes, they encircle a certain alt, cool, ironic urban sensibility but they align so closely with meme and Internet culture that it’s no wonder that some of his works have gone viral. It helps that his work is incredibly realistic, a fuzzy potential portrait from an alternate reality, that reaches across all aisles to point out what is wrong.

It’s the kind of art needed on a day like today, to level the shit heap that we’ve climbed to get here. You can find more of his work on Artsy and, if you’re in Los Angeles, he and some other art peeps are having an election hang tonight at Tenant Of The Trees.

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