In Brief

Over 500 Artists and Art Professionals Sign Letter Opposing Trump’s Travel Ban

Trump’s Executive Order could impact the lives of millions of people around the world and the art community has something to say about it.

A protest sign from a Boston rally last month against President Trump’s Executive Order barring nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations (photo by An Xiao Mina/Hyperallergic)

It can be heartening to see a long list of people signing a letter against President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) that would keep out non-citizen nations from seven Muslim-majority nations (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen), even if many of these same people sat out the #J20 Art Strike for who knows what reasons.

As a non-citizen Syrian (who thankfully has a Canadian passport so I will no longer be unilaterally denied entry after the revisions to the EO), it’s something of a relief to see people coming out against this action, but I’m concerned the art community is acting too slowly.

What does this list tell us? Not much, but my hope is that all these signatories continue to stay engaged and responsive to the actions of a President who continues to enforce a nativist and white nationalist agenda. The ruling on the EO should happen this week.

As we reported last week, a number of cultural institutions and organizations have already come out against the ban.

The letter’s signatories include many prominent art world figures, including Barbara Kruger, Hal Foster, Massimiliano Gioni, Mariam Ghani, Philip Tinari, Louise Lawler, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Roselee Goldberg, Eungie Joo, and others.

The letter in full reads:

We the undersigned individuals of the international contemporary art
field call for the immediate and total overturning of the Executive
Order signed by the 45th President of the United States on January 27,
2017, banning entry to any non-US citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya,
Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen; this encompasses the 90-day
suspension of entry by people of those countries (which includes dual
nationals), the 120-day suspension of entry by refugees, and the
indefinite suspension of entry for Syrian refugees.

In addition to the humanitarian crisis exacerbated by these
discriminatory measures, our fellow colleagues are being profiled
based on race and/or religion. Should our colleagues have to leave the
United States for any reason, they must not fear being denied return;
nor should they have to cancel exhibitions or research because they
cannot enter this country. Our field is dependent upon international
collaboration and cross-cultural exchange, and these cross-border and
cross-cultural collaborations benefit the general public; the ban thus
affects all of us.

The entirety of the Executive Order is unjust and must be overturned.

Everyone is welcome to sign the letter here.

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