Although I can't fully detox from the media because it's kind of, like, my job, sometimes, there is nothing I'd love more than to spend 24 hours without reading an election-based headline. Just one Trump-free day is all I ask, because constantly reminding myself that the political primaries are real life and not some sort of twisted, alternate-reality-TV-show is seriously bumming me out. Conceptual artist Hannah Rothstein captured my feelings exactly with her new piece Mr. & Mrs. Politico, which turns the political primaries into a game — literally.
Rothstein, whose previous tongue-in-cheek pieces have included "How Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Meals" and "Context Is Key," which explores the out-of-frame goings-on from famous works of art, has re-imagined the classic Mr. Potato Head toy into a statement about our current political figureheads. Writes Rothstein about the project on her website, "Currently, political vitriol is at an all-time high, voter participation has tumbled to a shocking low, and the 2016 primaries are raining down upon us like hail in a hurricane. Mr. & Mrs. Politico Head lets you create your own ideal candidate. Mix and match the candidates’ features to your heart’s delight. No matter the combination you choose, they’ll all remain the same underneath!"
Says Rothstein to Bustle in a phone interview, "The political primaries have really been on my mind. Some of the common complaints and concerns I've heard from people are that they feel like all the candidates are the same underneath, and that it's all just a big game." With Mr. and Mrs. Politico, she continues, "they're all the same base — you're just replacing the features. I thought that this was the perfect combination of medium and message."
In addition to the faces and hairstyles of GOP candidates Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson, and Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Rothstein also provides some key accessories: Money bags, crosses, fetuses — you know, fun stuff that we get to watch getting debated on the reg!
But there's more going on here than just a funny joke. In her artist's statement about the piece, Rothstein writes, "Mr. & Mrs. Politico Head challenges viewers to think critically about the presidential race as a whole. By blending the candidates with a beloved American toy, this project draws parallels between games and politics: Is this all an elaborate round of Monopoly, reality TV, or charades? Do candidates simply put on whatever face necessary to win?" Those are some pretty hard-hitting questions, and I'm fairly certain they're on most peoples' minds right now.
Though Mr. & Mrs. Politico is a one-of-a-kind deal and currently not for sale, Rothstein is considering creating a series of prints based around the project. To see more of her work, visit hrothstein.com and connect with her on Facebook (Hannah Rothstein) and Instagram (@hrothsteinart).
Images: Courtesy of Hannah Rothstein