Would you be surprised to learn that the campaign bus Donald Trump used during the Iowa causes in February came equipped with a stripper pole? Yeah, us neither. Yet that was the exact amenity that came with the vehicle—a former party bus—when two artists, Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson, bought it from Craigslist with the idea of turning into a sort of rolling installation piece.
Previously rented by Trump’s organization (such as it is), the bus was back in the hands of its original owners when Mihelic and Gleeson purchased it for $14,000—a bargain when you consider that Trump had customized it by splashing his name all over the front, back and sides. The artists did a little modification of their own, changing Trump’s name to T.Rump and altering his campaign slogan to “Let’s Make Fruit Punch Great Again.” (And who doesn’t agree with that?) Then they set of across America, following the Presidential primaries to engage in a “dialog” with people who were both Trump supporters and not. They also used the bus as a prop for various bits of political theater: At one point they “waterboarded” it by tying it down with cinder blocks and slapping a soaking wet towel on the front.
Now they’re bringing the bus to Smack Mellon Studios in Brooklyn on July 30, after a sojourn in Cleveland, Ohio for the Republican National Convention. The vehicle has been understandably mistaken for the real deal, luring Trump supporters to stop by for a chat, while inflaming anti-Trump crowds—who seem to prefer flipping the bird or throwing eggs when greeting it. Smack Mellon is located in the heart of Dumbo, which is hardly Trump territory, but no worries: Brooklynites are more used to seeing public artworks than the rest of the country.