Meme Ranch




Gold MAGA Hat, First Run Numbered and Signed Edition (1 of 5), 2023

10.75" x 6.5" x 5"

Numbers 1 - 4 available
(Life size 24k Gold Plated Bronze, hand signed)

The MAGA hat. Cast onto the world stage by a man who intended to build an empire, it's perhaps the most famous call to action of the 21st century, an admonition in alarm-bell red to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Since then, the call has been echoed millions of times as the powerful words and the distinctive red hat combined to form a complex meta-meme. That distinctly modern creation, in turn, has been integrated with nearly a decade's worth of other concepts and images to create countless new ideas and reimagine old ones. It's an icon. Like the Dress, The Rachel, and The Room, it's recognizable by just one word, and no matter who you are it's almost impossible not to have a strong opinion about it.

The hat was initially unveiled at the Texas border in July of 2015 but is now recognized worldwide. Its slogan—the most memorable since "I Like Ike" in 1952 and echoing Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign—has forever changed the way Americans approach politics. The very words are polarizing. Whether you agree with the philosophy or not, it's impossible not to have strong feelings about it. The phrase is used as a shorthand descriptor of people and things far beyond the original intention. And six years after its creation, the historic events of January 6, 2021, revitalized the meme and transformed it into something completely new.


XVALA's contribution to this memetic flow is a stunning replica of a real MAGA hat, signed by Donald Trump. The hat was laser scanned then 3D printed. The print—with the artist's signature debossed on the inside surface—was cast in bronze and plated in 24-karat gold. The choice of materials is purposeful. Bronze has been used in classic sculptures for 3000 years, and since its discovery gold has symbolized greatness. It perfectly represents the prosperity, leadership, authority, prestige, and strength that mark Donald Trump's image of a "great" America.


Additionally, the piece is intended as a response to Maurizio Cattelan's America, which represents the nation as a literal, functioning toilet made from 18-karat gold. Like Cattelan's work, XVALA's MAGA hat, while impractical for everyday use, remains technically functional as it is a 1:1 replica of the original. But unlike Cattelan, the hat exhorts us to make America great, not to disparage it as a waste receptacle. Furthermore, XVALA's use of 24-karat gold symbolizes the elevation of the nation to greatness, far above Cattelan's vision for it.


According to the theories of William Strauss and Neil Howe, Donald Trump's generation represents the archetype of the prophet who guides society through a time of crisis. Through his use of the MAGA slogan, Trump can be seen as a sort of "meme prophet", spreading his message in ways that history has never imagined. Wherever the prophet's message leads is left to each of us to discern, but it's impossible to argue that the meme—the message, Make America Great Again—has a life and a power of its own.


The MAGA hat is perhaps the single most influential clothing-related meme in history and XVALA has immortalized its message in a form that will last through the ages. Just as the ideas behind the hat propelled a presidential candidate with a deep political disadvantage all the way to the Oval Office, XVALA has transformed a simple red hat into a golden crown with a life of its own. As he says, "Magical transformation—lifting a mundane object to a level of greatness—is simply what art does."