A former Donald Trump campaign bus remodeled into anti-Trump automotive artwork will be displayed in Wynwood for Miami Art Week after another art fair pulled the plug.
Out-of-town artists Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson were supposed to display the bus — which the Trump campaign used briefly during the run-up to Iowa’s Republican primary — at Red Dot art fair in Miami. But days after Trump’s upset victory, fair organizers emailed to say the protest bus was no longer welcome.
In light of the surprising results, I’ve decided to pass on [the bus] display.
Eric Smith, Red Dot
“In light of the surprising results, I’ve decided to pass on [the bus] display,” Eric Smith, CEO of the company that runs Red Dot, wrote in a Nov. 10 email seen by the Miami Herald.
Coupled with the president-elect’s criticism of journalists, Mihelic said the fair’s sudden about-face scared her.
“If no one is willing to show anti-Trump art, no artists are going to be willing to make it,” said Mihelic, who splits her time between galleries in New York City and Chicago. “Freedom of speech is what really makes America great.”
Smith, of Red Dot, did not respond to a request for comment.
But the artists scrambled and were able to find a new location in the cramped courtyard of a Wynwood marketing agency called Engine Shop. The agency also leases space to Conception Art Fair next door.
The bus is now decorated with a variety of anti-Trump slogans including “Save Water. Only waterboard on Mon/Wed/Fri,” a sentiment added for a cross-country trip to drought-parched California.
$150,000 Listing price for the bus-turned-art
Mihelic and Gleeson, of Philadelphia, bought the 1981 MCI motor coach for $14,000 from an Iowa company that had leased it to Trump and drove the slow-moving behemoth to Miami for Art Basel last year, when it was also parked in Wynwood. The duo said they weren’t surprised by Trump’s win after traveling the country during campaign season, including stops in swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“We heard from so many closet [Trump] voters,” including many women, Mihelic said.
“We’ve been ahead of the curve,” agreed Gleeson. “That’s our job as artists. I’m not trying to brag, though. We thought we’d be done with this a long time ago.”
They have now listed the bus, which gets about eight miles to the gallon and takes only diesel, for sale on eBay for $150,000. One caveat, according to the online posting: “This offer is limited to only Muslims, blacks, Mexicans, disabled individuals, Jorge Ramos, Megyn Kelly, Rosie O’Donnell … or anyone else who has been threatened or bullied by Donald Trump.”
Inside the bus stands a stripper pole from a previous life as a vehicle for bachelor parties and casino runs, Mihelic said.
The exhibit will be available to the public at 2326 N. Miami Ave. from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. through Sunday.
Mihelic and Gleeson plan to hire overnight security and drape the bus with black banners to deter taggers. It has been vandalized and attacked in the past both by Trump supporters and by opponents who mistook it as a pro-Trump display.
UPDATE: After this story was published, a spokeswoman for Red Dot sent the following statement: “We declined to exhibit the T.Rump bus for free. We did however offer them a reduced rate for the bus and exhibition space but they did not respond and then the show sold out.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the address of the Trump Bus.