dalston art gallery accused of promoting fascism
LD50 is embroiled in storm over hosting an alt-right exhibition of racist memes, as well as neo-nazi and fascist speakers as part of is gallery programme. Leading to calls to boycott and protest the gallery.
In December, Dalston art gallery LD50 hosted an exhibition about the alt right - featuring the usual parade of Pepe memes, kek jokes, red pill MGTOW bullshit, and inflammatory race baiting. Was there a slither of plausible deniability to what they were up to, a kind of elaborate sleight of hand maybe? Drawing attention to what's out there in the big bad world outside the White Cube? Well, it then turned out LD50's owner, Lucia Diego, in a private conversation came out as basically a Trump supporter. After some digging, it turned out that the gallery had, on the down-low, actually hosted a "neo-reactionary" conference as well, though not a particularly well advertised one. Or as one of the speakers wrote, "behind a veil of secrecy to prevent the usual suspects (Leftists and other neurotics) from attacking".
Those are the words of Brett Stevens, a fascist who has in the past praised Anders Behring Breivik, the far right terrorist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011. Another speaker involved was Peter Brimelow, described by the SPLC as a leading voice in the anti-immigrant movement, and has in the past argued for the white-dominance of America.
This, obviously, has lead to quite a storm in the art world. Mute Magazine published a rather poetic screed against the gallery (and the art world's complicity etc) that drew as much ridicule as it did support. Especially for lines like: "The website of LD50 provides a useful overview of the enemy culture. It aestheticises the theses of inane paleoconservative stockbrokers like Peter Brimelow not by humming them to the tune of the Horst-Wessel-Lied or by painting dimples on their Goebbels but by a kind of calculated imprecision". But beyond the cultural studies post-grads getting all over-excited with the thesaurus, there have been more potent calls to boycott, protest and shut down the gallery. After the the gallery's political sympathies were made public, their replaced their website with a picture of graffitied Swastika (although we're unsure of where the Swatika comes from) and screenshots of the Facebook thread that called them out, which would appear to put the matter beyond much doubt.
A campaign, Shut Down LD50, launched at the weekend, releasing this statement: "It is imperative that this is not allowed to continue, that the gallery is shut down, and those responsible for it understand that their views are not welcome in our diverse city. The materials produced by the gallery, and the culture they promote, are a real threat to many of the communities living in Dalston". The Shutdown LD50 blog includes more information about the alleged fascist sympathies of the gallery and it's artistic programme and the speakers it's invited to give talks. In case you're unconvinced, one of the few place to offer any support for LD50, was amerika.org a right wing website that, as part of it's mission statement, suggests we "repatriate the non-indigenous".
Text Felix Petty