labeouf, rönkkö, and turner’s shut-down art project is reopening in new mexico
New York’s Museum of Moving Image pulled the plug on the LaBeouf, Rönkkö, and Turner's project 'He Will Not Divide Us,' claiming it had become a 'flashpoint for violence.'
Hot dog, jumping frog, He Will Not Divide Us is moving to Albuquerque. Yes, Shia LaBeouf has given us maybe the only excuse we'll ever get to roll out a load of Prefab Sprout puns.
The Museum of Moving Image pulled the plug on the original project — which invited users to say, "he will not divide us" into a livestream camera — claiming that it had become a "flashpoint for violence" after Shia himself was arrested for getting involved in an altercation with a neo-Nazi and after the work had increasingly become targeted by white supremacists. People had been turning up to the museum in Pepe masks, Trump merchandise, and Nazi uniforms.
The project was launched on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration, and was scheduled to run throughout the four years of his presidency, but was closed last week after less than a month. LaBeouf, Rönkkö, and Turner have found a new home for the project, though: Albuquerque, New Mexico. They started up the livestream again last Friday, and released the statement below:
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 normalization of division.
In fact, the museum demonstrated a spectacular lack of judgement — and courtesy to us as artists — by neglecting to consult us when they staged a political rally at the site of our artwork on January 29, 2017.
On numerous occasions, we voiced serious concerns to the museum about hate speech occurring at the site of our project, 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.
Nonetheless, there had been no incidents of physical violence at the site of our project that we are aware of, nor that we had been informed of at any stage by the museum.
It is our understanding that the museum bowed to political pressure in ceasing their involvement with our project. We were only informed of the museum's capitulation in an email from their attorney, Brendan O'Rourke — a lawyer who we note also represents the current president.
It is clear, therefore, that the Museum of the Moving Image is not fit to speak of our intent as artists.
As of February 18, 2017, we are proud to be continuing HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US at the El Rey Theater, Albuquerque.
Text Felix Petty
Image via thecampaignbook.com