Visitors to The Daily Show’s Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library are greeted with an ominous message.
“We are living through a rare moment in history,” says host Trevor Noah, “possibly the last moment in history.” And to guide us through these dark times, we have Trump’s Twitter account, giving us “unprecedented access into an American president’s complicated inner life — whether we want it or not.”
If you’re comfortable with that premise for an art exhibit, then you’ll love the rest of what’s inside the pop-up at 3 W. 57th St in Midtown, open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. from June 16-18. Here’s a brief tour, including a press conference with Noah from the mock Oval Office — complete with golden toilet for the Commander-in-Tweet:
“The Daily Show” was built on the unique alchemy of laughing despite being in great pain, and the Twitter Library may be its highest achievement.
The library attempts to treat Trump in the context normally reserved for presidents, while showing just how unfit he is to invite to a dinner party, let alone run a country. Exhibits like sitting on a golden toilet in the White House while responding to a global crisis in 140 characters or less are funny until you realize the crisis is here — and he’s probably tweeting from the White House bathroom.
Besides that one too-real moment, the exhibit pretty much sticks to potshots. Much of the library is curated collections of tweets on themes like “Concern for the Integrity of the American Presidency,” (i.e. birther allegations) and “Man’s Best Friend” (i.e. relationship advice for Robert Pattinson). Some tweets, like the recent “covfefe” intrigue and Trump eating a taco bowl at Trump Tower to prove he “loves Hispanics” get a gold frame and their own museum-style explainer plaque — not that anyone in the future will ever believe this all actually happened.
There are caricatures of his political opponents illustrated according to the ugly things Trump has said about them on Twitter. There’s a gallery of his “biggest wins” with faux medals for his pettiest squabbles, a map of all the places in the world that he’s offered suggestions to “make great again,” and, most disturbingly, a replica of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” with Trump, Blackberry in hand, leading the charge.
There are interactive elements, too, like the toilet crisis, as well as a giant magnetic board where you can compose your own Trump tweets, a live feed of his personal Twitter account with a red light that flashes when he posts an update, and audio recordings with people he’s attacked personally on Twitter, including Stephen King.
The library may yet go on the road — Noah gave a press conference at the exhibit’s preview on Thursday night, where he may or may not have been joking when he said the show is looking for sponsors (a hotel and a golf course have been contacted, but have not replied, he said).
Who knows — maybe the Twitter Library will outlast the Trump presidency, which is increasingly becoming mired in an investigation of its ties to Russia.
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) June 16, 2017