Richard Kraft
"It Is What It Is": All the Cards Issued to Donald Trump, January 2017-January 2021

Siglio

January 13, 2021
February 17, 2021
New Social Environment at the Brooklyn Rail*: February 26, 1–2:30pm, A conversation between artist Richard Kraft and poet Mónica de la Torre
Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair*: February 27, 11am–12pm, Live chat with artist Richard Kraft

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A set of slip-cased artist's books in which Trump's transgressions are assigned colored cards as if by a soccer referee. 

Every day—since Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017 until he left office last month—artist Richard Kraft kept close watch, assigning him colored cards associated with transgressing rules and codes of conduct, like a referee in soccer. The result is “It Is What It Is”: All the Cards Issued to Donald Trump, January 2017–January 2021: a daily reckoning, a refusal of normalcy, a bulwark against forgetting. Marrying outrage with humor, vigilance with futility, this unrelenting record of Trump’s ignominious four years in office is also a transformative act, turning the toxic into something beautiful. 

In soccer, yellow signifies a warning. Red is for more serious offenses—ones for which a player should be dismissed. (The futility and absurdity of assigning these cards to Trump is part of the point: What power does a referee hold when norms, fairness, and justice have been eviscerated and a player refuses to leave the field?) Kraft added more colors: magenta, purple, and finally crimson for escalations in egregiousness; orange for days spent at his properties and pink for those who played golf with him; dark blue when an administration official was fired or resigned (called “fuck you as you go” cards); as well as teal which honors various acts of resistance.

The sequence of cards is both story and abstraction—the punctuation of color, its rhythms and accumulations could be read as language or music. The textual notations of the transgressions to which each card is assigned follow in separate sections for each year. The texts are succinct and as neutral as possible (researched from a variety of news sources). They accumulate into a profound, chronological record that can tell multiple stories about this president, his followers, as well the many demonstrations of resistance. There are over 10,0000 cards and more than 500,000 words, totaling almost 1500 pages.

“It Is What It Is”: All the Cards Issued to Donald Trump, January 2017–January 2021 asks readers to confront the erasure that resulted from the daily assault by the Trump administration: What do we remember? What have we become inured to? What shocks us out of our complacency, our fatigue? How does memory shape our experience of what seemed impossible almost four years ago? “It Is What It Is” is as much a confrontation with the facts and phenomenon of a Trump presidency as it is an extraordinary durational work of art.

Available for pre-order at a special pre-publication price.

*New Social Environment at the Brooklyn Rail
*Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair

Richard Kraft is an artist whose multidisciplinary works often use public spaces (library aisles, sides of buses, city streets, cow pastures, abandoned airforce bases) as well as converse with the literary. He has had numerous group and solo gallery shows, including at Charlie James Gallery, LA Louver, and Rosamund Felsen, as well as at museum, university and non-profit art spaces. 100 Walkers, West Hollywood, was commissioned by The City of West Hollywood for its thirtieth year celebrations. He has co-edited three books for Siglio including, most recently, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Photostats. Kraft was born and raised in London, England and now lives in Los Angeles and New York. More information about his work is at richardkraft.net.

About Siglio
Siglio publishes uncommon, uncategorizable books that live in the rich and varied space between art and literature. Siglio is a small, fiercely independent press driven by its feminist ethos and its commitment to writers and artists who obey no boundaries, pay no fealty to trends and invite readers to see the world anew by reading word and image in provocative, unfamiliar ways.