moma re-hangs works by artists from muslim countries to protest trump's ban

Each work comes with a new description making the museum's intentions very clear.

by Hannah Ongley
03 February 2017, 7:15pm

Tala Madani's 2007 stop motion animation video "Chit Chat," via @stuartcomer

Artists have been coming up with powerful ways to protest Donald Trump's reprehensible Muslim ban (as they have done with all the other ridiculous things he's done in the last two weeks). Think Anish Kapoor's recreation of Joseph Beuys's 1974 performance piece "I Like America and America Likes Me," Jamie Hu's illustration of the Statue of Liberty hugging a woman in hijab, or whoever wrote that sign, "First They Came for the Muslims...and We Said Not This Time Motherfucker."

The Museum of Modern Art has now added itself to this list by re-hanging permanent works by artists from the majority-Muslim countries on the no-entry list. The New York Times reports that MoMA has re-jigged the layout of its fifth-floor galleries, replacing works by Picasso and Matisse with ones by Sudanese painter Ibrahim el-Salahi, Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, and Los Angeles-based Iranian video artist Tala Madani. A large metal sculpture by Iran-born artist Siah Armajani has also been moved to the glass-walled courtyard overlooking the garden.

Each comes with a new description that makes the museum's intentions pretty clear:

"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," it reads. "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."

MoMA has been quietly working its way to the forefront of the art world resistance. The museum recently opened a safe space for creative LGBTQ teens to make art and meet potential collaborators, even offering free snacks and Metrocards to queer youth in the sanctuary city. This latest protest is hardly likely to make the president rethink cutting federal funding to such cities, though New York is getting a fat cash injection in some form. Specifically, extra security surrounding Trump Tower, where the FLOTUS still lives just three blocks from MoMA. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram

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