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The Art World Responds To Trump’s Inauguration With A Call For Strikes

If, on January 20th, you intended to drown out the second rate fanfare of Trump’s inauguration ceremony by getting some culture of a different kind, well, you may be in trouble. The New York Times reported on Sunday that a number of prominent artists and critics have signed a statement in support of a general art world strike on January 20th. Among the signers, are such prominent Jewish artists as minimalist sculptor Richard Serra, filmmaker Ruth Sergel, and influential feminist conceptual artist Barbara Kruger. The call to action reads as follows:

J20 Art Strike An Act of Noncompliance on Inauguration Day. No Work, No School, No Business. Museums. Galleries. Theaters. Concert Halls. Studios. Nonprofits. Art Schools. Close For The Day. Hit The Streets. Bring Your Friends. Fight Back.

The statement signed by the art-world luminaries is careful to clarify that the closure of artistic institutions is intended as “an invitation to motivate these activities anew, to reimagine these spaces as places where resistant forms of thinking, seeing, feeling, and acting can be produced.” The idea being, that a large scale stoppage of artistic activity on inauguration day is not only an effective protest against what the signers see as Trump’s “toxic mix of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, militarism, and oligarchic rule,” but also an effective way to reinvigorate the art world with a sense of purpose.

Not everyone, however, is so enthused. Tom Eccles, the executive director of Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies, told the New York Times that “it is not our role to close. It is our role to watch, to listen, to encourage.” While many institutions have yet to decide how they will respond to the inauguration, some, including MoMA, insist that they will remain open on the 20th.

Jake Romm is the Forward’s culture intern. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter, @JakeRomm


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