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Nan Goldin, Kara Walker, and Jim Jarmusch are among 665 artists endorsing the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in a new open letter.
The campaign is organized by Artists4Bernie, a group founded by artist Mohammed Salemy, together with curator-writer Jennifer Teets and the collective DIS.
A long list of luminaries has signed the letter including the musicians Sky Ferreira, Kelsey Lu, and M.I.A.; gallerist Margaret Clinton; designers Telfar Clemens, Mike Eckhaus, and Zoe Latta; and the artists Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Ed Atkins, Kader Attia, Kevin Beasley, Hannah Black, Ryan McGinley, Hito Steyerl, Wu Tsang, Amalia Ulman, Leilah Weinraub, and Anicka Yi, among many others.
“By endorsing Bernie Sanders we hope to reach out to our American colleagues, friends, and families, and express our enthusiasm in supporting, and voting for, the only candidate we believe can unseat Donald Trump,” the open letter reads.
The letter continues to extol Sanders’s economic, foreign, and environmental policies. It also makes the argument that a Sanders administration would be to the benefit of artists and the cultural sectors at large, declaring:
Bernie Sanders is leading a working class movement that transcends ethnicities, generations, and geographies. Artists and cultural producers are largely precarity laborers–often struggling without benefits, financial security, at the whim of the market. These fields are therefore more inclined to attract people who are already privileged, at the expense of the less privileged—and, often, more talented. Medicare for all, universal childcare, canceling student debt, and free public college, are just a few of the progressive changes that we support for their soundness and logic, that will spill over into a more equal cultural sphere.
“Overall, we strongly feel that only Sanders represents the values and virtues which all of us as cultural producers have always hoped to strive for,” the letter adds and quotes from Sander’s promise to be an “arts President”.
“We believe that a Sanders presidency will provide a serious and tangible chance for a redirection of the United States and perhaps the entire world from the wrong paths that have been followed for far too long,” the letter closes. “President Sanders will inaugurate a new era for America: one of peace, prosperity, and essential human dignity.”
Update 2/25/2020 12:25pm EST: Since yesterday, February 24, the number of artists, critics, and cultural workers supporting Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign with an open letter has jumped from 665 to more than 1,200 today, with the addition of names like Gabo Camnitzer, Aria Dean, Bouchra Khalili, Elka Krajewska, and Agustina Woodgate.
Update 2/26/2020 4:00pm EST: In the day following the South Carolina Democratic debate, 2,579 artists have now signed the “Artists4Bernie” open letter endorsing the Vermont Senator.