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Occupy Museums Takes a Step in the Right Direction

by Liza Eliano on October 26, 2011

The face of Occupy Museums is evolving, and possibly for the better. After an aggressive rhetoric that seemed to blindly go after any large museum with money, the movement has toned down its mission. In its second week, Occupy Museums now seeks a more inclusive discussion, proven by this statement from the Occupy Museums event page:

At its core, the Occupy Movement is about imagining and building a just and democratic future. It is generative not destructive. We are shifting collective consciousness. We are here to envision what the museum can be, what art can be, and how we can create a society that works for the 100%.

This sounds like a step in the right direction and allows for a more nuanced look at how museums function. After all, the lack of government funding these institutions receive is a large part of why they must rely so heavily on rich board members.

Occupy Museums also makes a noteworthy transition this week to focusing on a specific cause that gets to the core of what needs to change in the art world. On Thursday, protesters will march with Sotheby’s union art handlers who are still locked out of their jobs. After the General Assembly meets in front of MoMA the protesters will move uptown to march in solidarity with Teamsters Local 814 in front of Sotheby’s. The schedule for the Thursday’s event is as follows:

2:30 — Informational assembly at Liberty Square
3:15 — Occupy 4 train to MoMA
4:00 — General Assembly at MoMA!
5:00 – March or M31 Bus to Sotheby’s at 1334 York Avenue
5:30 — Stand in Solidarity with Teamsters Local 814

As the Sotheby’s lockout heads into its fourth month, this is an issue that cannot be ignored. Occupy Museums’ goal to create a democratic future in the art world may still be fuzzy, but supporting the art handlers targets the type of injustice that should take center stage in this movement.

And in the name of furthering the conversation surrounding Occupy Museums, here is a discussion that happened at the first Occupy Museums between vlogger James Kalm and one of the participants, both of whom videotaped their interaction from their own perspectives … welcome to 2011:

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  • Anonymous

    Actually the group paid a visit to the Sotheby’s picket on the first day of their museum actions last week….

    • http://hragv.com Hrag Vartanian

      Good to hear, that wasn’t part of the original program, correct?

      • Anonymous

        no, that is correct…and as a result I missed that part of the program sadly as I met up w/ them at MoMA. The Frick was nixed as well in the interest of representing at Sotheby’s. I think this info was included in an updated post on Paddy Johnson’s blog (i think….). The Sotheby’s point (made by you and others) was clearly a valid one and I think the group responded accordingly. Like the rest of OWS, Occupy Museums is a ‘work-in’progress’, and my sense it is open to (and inviting of) constructive criticism from without, as well as within.

  • erin sickler

    Also in this vein, check out Chris Kasper’s Open Letter to Labor Servicing the Culture Industry:
    http://dismagazine.com/discussion/16545/open-letter-to-labor-servicing-the-culture-industry/
    A good contribution to the conversation.

  • http://twitter.com/JuliaGleich Julia Gleich

    At the very least, this keeps the dialogue interesting. Everyone “speaking with a unified voice” scares me more than inequality.

  • kalmstudio

    As a simple point of interest, as of Thursday evening October 27, 2011, NEREphotography’s vid had 87 views.  James Kalm’s vid had 438 views.  This says a lot about how much more appealing the NEREphotography guy looks.  I wouldn’t watch that James Kalm guy ether if I didn’t have to, sorry.

  • Anonymous

    We toast free access to art! Join us: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=286530061370248 :)

  • Anonymous

    We support!

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