Feb. 21, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
The artists who displayed their controversial “He Will Not Divide Us” installation at the Museum of the Moving Image have found a new home for the piece and slammed the Museum for shutting down the project earlier this month.
Art group Labeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, which includes actor Shia Lebeouf, announced on Saturday that the installation had moved to a wall outside the El Ray Theater in Albequerque, New Mexico.
The move came after the MoMI shut down the project on February 10 following violent incidents and hate speech at the installation, which consisted of a camera outside the museum live streaming to the group’s website and inviting people to repeat the phrase “He will not divide us.” It began on January 21, the day of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, and is slated to run for the duration of his first term.
In a statement announcing the move, the group said that MoMI’s “evident lack of commitment to the project is damning.”
It also complained that the Museum had misrepresented the intention of their art piece.
“From the outset, the museum failed to address our concerns about the misleading framing of our piece as a political rally, rather than as a participatory performance artwork resisting the normalisation of division.”
The Museum shut down the piece after several arrests and incidents of hate speech at the site, stating that it had become a “flashpoint for violence.”
Labeouf himself was arrested at the exhibit after he shoved a Nazi sympathizer outside the Museum.
Labeouf, Rönkkö & Turner said in the statement that they had not been aware of any instances of violence, and that they had voiced concerns about hate speech at the exhibit and “requested that the museum act responsibly in moderating this and providing the public a means of reporting such incidents. Our requests were not even acknowledged, let alone acted upon.”
The statement also said that the museum demonstrated a “spectacular lack of judgment” for allowing Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer to hold a rally against hate speech at the installation on January 29 without consulting the art group. Van Bramer supported the MoMI’s decision to shut down the exhibit.
The exhibit reopened in Albuquerque on Saturday, and the live stream can be watched at http://hewillnotdivide.us/.
Not surprised. MOMI is starting to be just as conservative, literally speaking, as most museums out there. Was nice to see that exhibit when it was there, but some people just can’t stand a bit of controversial themes. Then again, there weren’t that many people who went for those arcade classics last year anyway..Sucks that the MOMI is setting lower standards at a place with high demand…