Other Group

We Make America

Location:

New York, NY

Formation:

2016

We Make America is a collective of New York-based artists that was organized the day after Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The group organizes protests and demonstrations, at which they wield homemade signs, sculptures, and props in opposition to the Trump administration. [1] We Make America intends to defend what they perceive as threats to women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, health care, and freedom of speech posed by the Trump administration. [2]

The group calls itself We Make America as a callback to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” It claims roughly 200 members in New York. [3]

The group organizes itself through its Facebook page, which has nearly 4,500 followers. [4]

Projects

We Make America’s first project was creating costumes and protest signs for the 2017 Women’s March on Washington and the related march in New York City. The group took inspiration from the Statue of Liberty, historically a symbol of immigration, and created costumes and signs featuring crowns, green gowns, and a giant torch. [5]

We Make America launched a GoFundMe campaign in 2018, to support member Tamara Gayer’s project “Kick Him Out!,” an inflatable piece of “art” intended to be used in the 2019 Women’s March. Gayer’s illustrations of the proposed float show a high-heeled shoe painted in stars and striped, along side an orange shape labeled “Trump’s Ass,” intending to communicate “the need to Kick Them Out of Office.” [6] It was Nancy Davidson’s “Kick Ass” inflatable version of Gayer’s illustrations that actually appeared at the 2019 Women’s March. [7]

We Make America participated in the 2019 Climate March in New York, carrying an array of boldly colored handmade signs, with images including a white rhinoceros, snarling tiger heads, and a cartoon version of Earth with fangs. [8]

People

Joyce Kozloff is one of the primary organizers of We Make America. Kozloff is associated with political action groups that include the Heresies Collective, a group of feminist and political artists, and Artists Against the War, a group of artists who protested the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. [9]

Maria de Los Angeles is one of the first organizers of We Make America, but has since stopped protesting as advised by her lawyer, as she is a formerly illegal immigrant who has received provisional status under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. [10]

We Make America’s membership include a number of artists, some whose work is political. Ann Agee recently participated in the exhibition “Making a Difference: Social and Political Activism in Clay.” [11] Nancy Chunn’s work addresses geopolitical, sociological, and cultural issues, and provides commentary on the media, terrorism, and world events. [12] Tamara Gayer is the artist behind the proposed “Kick Him Out!” float designed for the 2019 Women’s March. [13] Nancy Davidson is the artist behind “Kick Ass,” the inflatable that actually appeared at the 2019 Women’s March. [14]

References

  1. Armstrong, Annie. “‘We’ve Been at This for a Long Time’: Artists in ‘We Make America’ Collective Join Climate Strike.” ARTnews, September 20, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/climate-strike-we-make-america-13256/. ^
  2. Frank, Priscilla. “Artists Band Together With A Message For Trump: We Make America.” HuffPost, January 20, 2017. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/we-make-america-activist-art_n_587fc951e4b04b69667dfdc9. ^
  3. Pollack, Barbara. “Artists Channel Lady Liberty in Signs, Costumes, and Torches for the Women’s Marches.” Hyperallergic, January 17, 2017. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://hyperallergic.com/352236/artists-channel-lady-liberty-in-signs-costumes-and-torches-for-the-womens-marches/. ^
  4. “We Make America.” Facebook. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/groups/WeMakeAmerica/about/. ^
  5. Frank, Priscilla. “Artists Band Together With A Message For Trump: We Make America.” HuffPost, January 20, 2017. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/we-make-america-activist-art_n_587fc951e4b04b69667dfdc9. ^
  6. Sharp, Sarah Rose. “Artist Collective Plans Big, Inflatable Trump Butt to Kick Ass at the 2019 Women’s March.” Hyperallergic, November 26, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://hyperallergic.com/472738/kick-him-out-we-make-america/. ^
  7. Armstrong, Annie. “‘We’ve Been at This for a Long Time’: Artists in ‘We Make America’ Collective Join Climate Strike.” ARTnews, September 20, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/climate-strike-we-make-america-13256/. ^
  8. Armstrong, Annie. “‘We’ve Been at This for a Long Time’: Artists in ‘We Make America’ Collective Join Climate Strike.” ARTnews, September 20, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/climate-strike-we-make-america-13256/. ^
  9. https://hyperallergic.com/352236/artists-channel-lady-liberty-in-signs-costumes-and-torches-for-the-womens-marches/ ^
  10. Calcada, Laura. “A Mexican-Born Artist, Activist, and DACA Recipient Considers an Uncertain Future.” Hyperallergic, November 28, 2017. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://hyperallergic.com/413724/a-mexican-born-artist-activist-and-daca-recipient-considers-an-uncertain-future/. ^
  11. https://www.theclaystudio.org/exhibitions/making-a-difference-social-and-political-activism-in-clay. ^
  12. “Nancy Chunn.” Feldman Gallery, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://feldmangallery.com/index.php/artist-home/nancy-chun. ^
  13. Sharp, Sarah Rose. “Artist Collective Plans Big, Inflatable Trump Butt to Kick Ass at the 2019 Women’s March.” Hyperallergic, November 26, 2018. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://hyperallergic.com/472738/kick-him-out-we-make-america/. ^
  14. Armstrong, Annie. “‘We’ve Been at This for a Long Time’: Artists in ‘We Make America’ Collective Join Climate Strike.” ARTnews, September 20, 2019. Accessed December 27, 2019. https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/climate-strike-we-make-america-13256/. ^
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We Make America


New York, NY