Donald Trump will have his inauguration on January 20th 2017, where he will become 45th sworn president of the United States. A group of 130 critics and artists will use this event to make a protest. They signed a petition in which cultural institutions around the country are being called to close for the whole day.
This protest, J20 Art Strike, requires theaters, concert halls, galleries, museums, non-profits, schools and studios to stop with their everyday business for 24 hours and try to resist the “normalization of Trumpism ― a toxic mix of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, militarism, and oligarchic rule,” as organizers called it. On that day, creative citizens are being invited to go on the streets and protest against the role of such cultural spaces.
The petition states:” We consider Art Strike to be one tactic among others. Like any tactic, it is not an end in itself, but rather an intervention that will ramify into the future. It is not a strike against art, theater, or any other cultural form. It is 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. However you choose to respond to this call, Art Strike is an occasion for public accountability, an opportunity to affirm and enact the values that our cultural institutions claim to embody.”
Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Joan Jonas, Dread Scott, Trevor Paglen and Simone Leigh are just some of the many artists who signed the petition. Also, a few critics like Chris Kraus, Lucy Lippard and Hilton Als decided to participate as well. But, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, decided to stay open during this protest on the inauguration day. The New York Times got an email from Miranda Carroll, the director of communications in LA County Museum of Art:” Our entire program and mission, every day, is an expression of inclusion and appreciation of every culture.”
Although many of the art world inhabitants uphold and believe in the J20 Art Strike mission, also think that it is very important that art institutions stay open on January 20th. Jonathan Jones, the Guardian art critic doubts the protest’s effectiveness. He wrote:” Such a protest can only help the participants feel good about themselves. It is at best a way of saying ‘not in my name,’ and cannot conceivably do anything to curb Trump or ensure his electoral defeat next time around. Let’s face it: art and serious culture are completely marginal to American life. Trump’s victory proves that. Closing museums is not likely to have any impact on those who support him. With all due respect, they might be affected a lot more if reality television shows went on strike.”
There is only a few days before The Inauguration Day, so creative individuals and cultural institutions need to ask themselves if they will participate in this art protest and will it have any effect. Those who decide to go out on the streets will absolutely have some very gifted thinkers and artists by their side.
One thing is certain; it is going to be one difficult day.