Protest, V5: Brian Rose

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday March 30, 2017

New York photographer Brian Rose contributes to the Protest Art page:

Saw your piece about protest art the other day, and am happy to see artists responding to what can only be described as an emergency.

I've rarely tried to address current events directly, though much of my landscape work (from the Iron Curtain to the Twin Towers) has incorporated larger social/political issues. Trump's election has spurred me to do something more targeted. It's a work in progress—Atlantic City, In the Wake of Destruction left by Donald Trump. I've been posting pictures to my blog as they were made, but have now put them on a mini website. The photos are accompanied by commentary and quotations from various sources [shown in italics]


The bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Closed in October 2016. 
The beginning of a new series of photographs. Donald Trump's failed casinos and the devastation connected to those failures. A state and city that sold its soul to criminal interests under the pretense of urban revitalization. A Disney theme park with street crime, the money laundering schemes of billionaires, and those abandoned to homelessness and unemployment.

The closure of the sprawling Boardwalk casino, with its soaring domes, minarets and towers built to mimic the famed Indian historic site, cost nearly 3,000 workers their jobs, bringing the total jobs lost by Atlantic City casino closings to 11,000 since 2014. Atlantic City now has seven casinos. [more]




When asked about Atlantic City, Trump says the iconic resort town is “a disaster” that collapsed just before his timely exit, which is surely true. In the town on which the Monopoly game was based, riches did not trickle down. Many inhabitants are not passing Go: 39,000 people live in a city where unemployment is 13.8 percent, the 10th highest in the nation, and the mortgage foreclosure rate is America’s highest.

Trump has been vigorously spinning his companies’ bankruptcies as evidence of his business acumen. “I had the good sense, and I’ve gotten a lot of credit in the financial pages—seven years ago, I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered,” he boasted in the first GOP primary debate. “And I made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and I’m very proud of it.” [more]



I found myself— America finds itself now — at the very end of the Boardwalk. The very end of this immigrant’s midway lined with cheap thrills and junk concessions, pulsating with tawdry neon and clamoring moronically. The end of this corny, schmaltzy Trumpian thoroughfare that entertains us with its patter and enthralls us with its lies.

Down at the Boardwalk’s terminus, by Oriental Avenue, by night, the seagulls keep flying into the Revel [casino] and dying. Or they flap and limp around a bit before dying. You never see or hear the impact, you just get what happens after. Immense white gulls, flapping, limping, expiring. They fly into the Revel’s giant vacant tower of panes and break their necks, because without any lights on, the glass is indistinguishable from the sky.—Joshua Cohen, n+1 Magazine [more]

View Brian’s Atlantic City portfolio here, © Brian Rose. Images from his Lower East Side book can be seen at Dillon + Lee, booth 421, at AIPAD this week.


  1. Roger Maggio commented on: March 30, 2017 at 3:02 p.m.
    While Trump exited AC with his pants on, the failure of AC was not his alone. Let's start with the crooked politicians in AC, many of whom were convicted of bribes and payoffs and are or went to Federal prison. Next is the State of NJ totally complicit. The state sucked the money it made out of AC that it was supposed to invest in AC infrastructure and social well being. It is not Trumps or any casino owner responsibility to rebuild the city. Without infrastructure people over the years stopped coming because the crime and social problems just got worse. This is not a defense of Trump but an indictment of AC's former political control and the State of NJ. Shame on both!

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