Lisa Anne Auerbach is well known for her politicized knitwear—sweaters and other types of clothing hand and machine knit that include symbols or text that have a political meaning. But in addition to knitting, she has also been working with other forms of textiles, photographs, zines, and in gouache. She is interested in the ways in which humans communicate with each other, especially non-verbally through architecture and symbolism.
During the election, Auerbach developed a series called “Make America,” a spin-off of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. Auerbach said that,
“during the 2016 Presidential Election, one of the candidate’s slogans was “Make America Great Again,” which of course implies that America is currently not “great” but once was and could be again. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I have some ideas for other things America might prioritize in the future.”
Since the election, she has continued with this “Make America” series but instead of in red, blue, and white, she is now working in black and white, resonating the sense of hopelessness many Americans are feeling—or symbolically representing the stark contrast between Obama and Trump’s version of America.
Auerbach said of the painting “Hurt People Hurt People” that, “One of my students said this in class in reference to bullying and I thought, “well, wow, maybe that explains it.” Hurt people like to blast off missiles and then they don’t hurt enough people so they drop a giant bomb and that doesn’t hurt enough people so they try to defund Planned Parenthood… I don’t feel sorry for the guy because he’s hurt; I just want him to take his slithering, destroyed, impaired and crackpot brain and get it someplace where he can’t hurt any more people. Outer space would be fine, as long as he can’t tweet from there.”
Auerbach has some words of wisdom for all of us resisting the agenda of hate. “You think it can’t get any worse; then the sun comes up and a new day brings even more chaos and scandal. The challenge is to stay informed but not let it make you nuts. Don’t go on total news strike, just take a day off. Don’t cancel your newspaper subscription; without a functioning press we are sunk. Take time to pull weeds or listen to some music or go on a hike. It’s Saturday and a beautiful day even though it seems like everything is shattering, the waters are rising, the air is clouding and our leadership is a simmering crock pot of madmen.”
Consider purchasing one of her grayscale paintings; the income from these works is being donated to organizations working to help Americans when the government fails them.
See more paintings on Auerbach’s instagram account @auerbachtoberfest
Check out Auerbach’s website for more images and information.