'Naked Trump' auction Oct. 26 to benefit Heights art funding
Gray’s Auctioneers has announced its Oct. 26 live and online auction featuring the naked Donald Trump sculpture, “The Emperor Has No Balls,” by artist Joshua “Ginger” Monroe.
The auction catalogue went live on Oct. 7, and the sculpture will be lot #1 in Gray’s Oct. 26 auction. The estimate is $10,000 to $20,000. A private preview for serious bidders began Oct. 19 and runs through Oct. 25. Gray’s Auctioneers will display a life-sized photograph of the sculpture in its showroom throughout the preview period. The bidding will start at 11 a.m. EST. To place a bid or follow the auction, visit https://auctions.graysauctioneers.com/lots/view/1-4YWU9.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit public art funding in the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (the neighborhood where the sculpture was placed by American activist collective INDECLINE), citywide public art projects to be developed by community arts nonprofit Heights Arts, and artist Monroe, who created the piece pro bono.
Making this sculpture truly unique, it is the only one of the original five sculptures in the series to have been publicly claimed by the artist, who travelled to Cleveland to personally liberate the sculpture from the Cleveland Heights Police Department on Sept. 16.
Monroe stated, "When creating the pieces, it was important to me that a statue was to be left in the Cleveland area. It's exciting that my work can be used in this way to create lasting public art for community where the sculpture was placed."
The Los Angeles sculpture went up for auction at Julien’s Auctions on Oct. 22, but neither the artist nor INDECLINE were involved in the sculpture’s claim, nor will they benefit from the sale. It was picked up by La Luz de Jesus gallery, and was featured in Julien’s street art auction. A private collector purchased the statue for $22,000. [A spokesperson for] the auction house described it as “one of the most talked about pieces in the auction.” Proceeds from that auction will benefit La Luz de Jesus gallery and the National Immigration Forum.
Of the other three sculptures in the original “The Emperor Has No Balls” series, one has been destroyed (New York), one is still in police custody (San Francisco), and one has been claimed by a private business (Seattle, where it is now on display at No Parking On Pike, a vintage store).
The Cleveland “Naked Trump” sculpture was confiscated by Cleveland Heights police just 24 minutes after it was placed near the corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard on Aug. 18. A photo of the sculpture was shared on social media websites by Big Fun toy store and immediately went viral, reaching more than 125,000 in less than 24 hours.
Rachel Bernstein and Angie Hetrick
Rachel Bernstein is executive director of Heights Arts. Angie Hetrick is the director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District.