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RESPOND: Exhibit at Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

January 19, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Respond Exhibit

2014 will, in part, be remembered for people in the U.S. declaring “Enough! The police will not continue to get away with murdering our people.” Early in 2015, Smack Mellon, a gallery in Brooklyn, NY, is displaying an artistic answer to the epidemic of police murder and the refusal of the government to prosecute the killers. RESPOND is an exhibition that will feature 200+ artists, from unknown to well known—students and artists who have had solo exhibitions in major museums internationally.

The announcement for the exhibition states: “After learning of the grand jury’s decision to not indict Daniel Pantaleo, Smack Mellon postponed a planned exhibition in order to respond to the continued failure of the United States to protect its black citizens from police discrimination and violence. In order to channel our outrage into actions that can facilitate systemic change, Smack Mellon’s gallery space will be used to present events, performances and artworks that affirm that black lives matter, express frustration and anger with the institutional racism that enables law enforcement to kill black members of the community with impunity, and imagine creative solutions and visionary alternatives to a broken justice system.”

This is a very welcome development. Art spaces arrange their programming months and sometimes years in advance. For Smack Mellon to change their schedule is very unusual and a real model to learn from. Putting together a show of this scale in less than a month is unheard of. More people in the arts should be inspired by this approach.

In brief glimpses of the exhibition in preview tweets from the gallery, the work looks beautiful and poignant. This show is not to be missed.

The exhibition runs January 17 to February 22. In addition to the visual work on view, there will be several film screenings, performances, forums and community meetings. Details are on Smack Mellon’s website.

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