The Association of Masonic Arts, which was founded to support research and critical scholarship on the Masonic Arts and Material Culture, and their uses in society, wishes to condemn the use of a Masonic ring on the statue of Donald Trump called “the Emperor Has No Balls.”  Let it be very clear that this is not a condemnation of the artwork itself, which some members the AMA find to be a persuasive piece of political commentary, as well as agitating art. Rather we condemn this because it is an unfair and capricious misuse of the symbol itself, having no direct relevance to the meaning of the political or cultural criticism in the artwork.


Mr. Trump is not a Freemason, and has no ties to Masonic communities, except perhaps for casual ones through his myriad business “deals.”  So it seems this symbol was chosen because of its graphically striking nature and nothing more, and the meaning was entirely misapplied. It is, therefore, slipshod and tendentious commentary.  Freemasonry, historically speaking, has stood for, and was often directly connected to, the development of democratic principle. This makes the use of this symbol as a putative gesture indicating anti-democratic power-seeking, very wrong-headed and fatuous.


The Association of Masonic Arts does not question the fundamental artistic freedom of artists to use symbols as they see fit. But the AMA strongly frowns on a use of Masonic symbol that skirts prejudice against Masons themselves, and could be seen as a sort of artistic hate speech against the Masonic community, many of whom oppose the Trump candidacy. We also frown on the wayward uses of conspiracy tropes which seek to connect Masonic symbols to bizarre and suspicious tales of “New World Order” and the like. There is no historical support for such a general ascription of such to the Masonic community, any more than there would be to any other large organization with diverse membership, whose views might be variable or fanciful.


At this point the AMA does not ask that the artist change these works, which many see as useful commentary by some, and an expression of artistic license. But we do ask that the artist and news organizations make clear that there is no intrinsic connection between the Donald Trump for President Campaign and the Masonic community, or to any of its symbols.