Our assembly at MoMA, which involved more than one hundred participants, culminated in the dropping of a large red-and-black banner from the 5th floor of the museum into the central atrium. Designed by a group of OWS artists called the Novads, the banner read “When art is just a luxury, art is a lie, end the lockout!” and “Sotheby’s: Hang art, not workers, end your lockout.” The banner-drop was captured by dozens of cameras, and images of the event are rapidly circulating across the globe.
Minutes after the banner was dropped, it was taken without our consent by the MoMA’s Director of Security. We would like to make it clear that we consider this to be a unilateral acquisition. It was a hostile appropriation of our art by your museum. Institutions around the country are negotiating with OWS to acquire archival materials for their collections, and through this act MoMA has now made itself an important site of this national debate. If the museum is serious about acquiring this artwork, we demand a proper negotiating platform and acquisition-process. We therefore present the following conditions for MoMA in keeping the historical banner of January 13th as part of its permanent collection:
- MoMA releases a letter addressed to Sotheby’s calling on them to end the lockout of Teamsters Local 814.
- “Target Free Fridays” are never publicized by MoMA without citing the Artist Workers Coalition whose protests led to free museum days in the early 1970s.
- Whenever the banner is on display, the details of its acquisition, including the action of January 13, 2012 are available. Any accompanying text must be approved by Occupy Museums and the coalition of groups that collaborated on this action.
This energizes me to actions again. This is some of the most brilliant strategizing and fearless justice trolling I’ve ever heard of.
Occupy Museums Writes Letter to MoMA