Arts, Venue

A blue New York and a campaign video: the art world responds to Biden’s win

The front page of the November 16th issue of the New Yorker, by Pascal Campion, depicts a dark New York city skyline with the Empire State Building in the centre, lit up by a beaming blue light. Representing the Democratic party colour, the deep blue shade engulfs the city scene in a protective mist.

The cover was inspired by the 2012 edition by Mark Ulriksen, originally named ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, after Barack Obama won the presidential election. Campion uses the premise of Ulrikson’s piece and renames it ‘Hope again’, a title heavy with expectation that Biden will continue Obama’s democratic work.

Joe Biden’s victory video campaign release was inspired by Lorraine O’Grady’s performance piece in 1983. The 2-minute-long clip was posted on Biden’s social media accounts on the day he was announced president-elect, and follows numerous individuals posing with a golden frame.

Expressing identity, individuality and culture, the clip highlights Biden’s focus on liberal democracy and his humanitarian campaign to support all people and communities.

We see people farming, swimming, working, playing instruments and sitting with family, representing all aspects that make people individual and, synonymously, American.

The Biden-Harris video was paired with a soft, melodic country song expressing how “sweet America…God done shed his grace on thee”. Mirroring the hope and sweetness of America’s future with Biden as president, the song evokes optimism and faith for a bright future for the American people.

Both Campion’s ‘Hope again’ cover, and Biden’s victory video express the notion of there being light at the end of the tunnel. The idea of belief and conviction is deliberately embedded in both artistic pieces, leaving America securely in the hands of the 46th President of the United States- Joe Biden.


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Phoebe Lucas

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September 2021
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