‘The Parade’ may be based on a trite observation, but gets to the core of how the world sees Donald Trump’s America in 2020. In a time when reality is so bizarre that it can’t no longer be satirized, Fort manages to do just that by reinventing one of the country’s most valued symbols: “The Star-Spangled Banner”. In Fort’s rendition, all 50 of the flag’s stars have been removed and replaced by LOLs on a new, stripe-less version. Flown on the same pole, the two flags form a poignant diptych which whimsically portrays America as a laughing stock, as well as alludes to the country’s ideological and political divide. Rendered in black and white, The flags also mourn for the country’s dire predicament which includes its dismal coronavirus response, racial tensions and the corrosion of its democratic institutions.
As always with Fort’s work, the title adds another layer of meaning, playing as it is with a concept close to Trump’s heart: military parades. Only in this case, it’s a lonely parade of one, a cheeky proclamation of the hollowness of Trump’s rhetoric and projection of might, not to mention, another jab at his country’s moral isolation on the world stage.