Artists and Critics Call for January 20 “Art Strike” Against Trump Inauguration

January 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


The website of the international art magazine Artforum recently reported that “An extensive group of artists and critics have called on colleagues in cultural industries to go on strike on January 20 in protest against the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump.”

Influential artists who have signed on to the call so far include Allora and Calzadilla, Paul Chan, Hans Haacke, Barbara Kruger, Richard Serra, and Cindy Sherman. Artforum notes that “Dread Scott, whose work formed the cover of Artforum’s November issue, has signed on as well.” Art critics who have joined the Art Strike call include Hilton Als, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, Lucy Lippard, and Barry Schwabsky.

The call reads:

#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.

This call concerns more than the art field. It is made in solidarity with the nation-wide demand that on January 20 and beyond, business should not proceed as usual in any realm. We consider Art Strike to be one tactic among others to combat the normalization of Trumpism—a toxic mix of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, militarism, and oligarchic rule. 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.

We address ourselves to the people who make our cultural institutions run on a daily basis, including many of our own friends and colleagues. Those who work at the institutions are divided in multiple and unequal ways, and any action taken must prioritize the voices, needs and concerns of those with the most to lose. 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.

The disruptions of J20 are just the beginning. They will resonate with the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. and other cities on January 21, and will stand as beacons of ungovernability as the darkness of the Trump era descends upon us. Let us assemble for the protracted battles that have long been underway, and those on the horizon.

There is a J20 Art Strike events page on Facebook. Artists and critics who want to sign the call can do it on this page, which includes the list (in formation) of the signatories.



Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.