Trump beats Kim, sort of, at international art fair

Thursday December 7 2017

A patron walks past

A patron walks past "President Trump Becomes a Wonder Woman, Unifies the Country and Fights Rocket Man' by American artist Peter Saul during the Art Basel Miami in Florida December 6, 2017. PHOTO | AFP 

By AFP
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A painting of Donald Trump morphed into Wonder Woman and defeating Rocket Man — North Korea's Kim Jong-un — is a star attraction at an international art festival.

The painting featuring the US president, entitled "President Trump Becomes a Wonder Woman, Unifies the Country and Fights Rocket Man," was one of the top works at a private viewing Wednesday.

The parody piece by Peter Saul shows Trump in the iconic garb of the female superhero, punching caricatures of Kim Jong-un.

The Art Basel fair, which opens Thursday in Miami Beach, has become the Americas' main art dealing hub since its first event in 2002.

Various works by Roy Lichtenstein and a painting by Willem De Kooning valued at USD 35million (KSh 3.6billion) are also on display.

A 1979 painting by the Netherlands' De Kooning is likely the dearest at the show, valued at USD 35million, according to Paul Gray of the Richard Grey gallery, where it is being shown.

Other attractions include a work by Ellsworth Kelly and a 1969 Lichtenstein that has not been displayed in years, said Noah Horowitz, director of the Americas for Art Basel.

Art Basel Miami Beach kicks off weeks after the art market showed its strength at a New York auction, where a Da Vinci painting sold for a record USD 453million (KSh 46billion).

'Salvator Mundi' by Leonardo da Vinci at Christie's New York Auction House on November 15, 2017 in New York City. PHOTO | AFP

'Salvator Mundi' by Leonardo da Vinci at Christie's New York Auction House on November 15, 2017 in New York City. PHOTO | AFP

Tens of thousands of artists, gallery owners and art lovers also tour parallel exhibits, fairs and other events that fill the streets of Miami Beach for a week.

One of them is a night show in which 300 drones fly over the city and form different shapes, like sculptures, up in the sky. "This is what we are. We are Miami Beach, we are an arts and culture destination," said Mayor Dan Gelber.

The last edition of Art Basel, which also takes place in Switzerland and Hong Kong, brought 77,000 visitors to Miami Beach — despite fears surrounding the Zika virus.