New York Museum of Modern Art Takes a Stand Against Trump’s Muslim Ban

February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Curators at one of New York City’s major cultural institutions, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), have taken an unprecedented stand against Trump’s ban on Muslims entering the U.S. by staging a late-night re-hanging of art in its permanent collections. Seven works by some of the most widely known modern artists, such as Picasso and Matisse, were removed from a variety of fifth floor departments to make way for art work of seven artists from several of the Muslim-majority countries targeted by Trump’s travel ban. Alongside each of these works is text on the wall that reads: “This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on Jan. 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum as they are to the United States.”

The seven works include pieces by Sudanese painter Ibrahim el-Salahi, Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, Los Angeles-based Iranian video artist Tala Madani, Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli, Iranian draftsman Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Iranian photographer Shirana Shahbazi, and Iranian painter Marcos Grigorian. Also, a sculpture by Siah Armajani, an American artist born in Iran, was placed in a lobby area.

“We want the gallery to be a place of freedom, where people can find a safe haven,” Christophe Cherix, MoMA’s chief curator of drawings and prints told the online arts magazine Hyperallergic. “The idea was to be inclusive and not disruptive. We wanted to have one in each room to create a rhythm. It was more this idea of embracing those works within our tradition, within the narrative of our collection, within our values. Our galleries are also a platform where people can really think about the role of artists from those different countries within our own culture. The collection should also be reactive to what happens around us.”



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