Black Lives Matter Protesters Provide a Much Needed Art World Shake Up

Black Lives Matter protestors staged a die-in at the Armory show in NYC a couple of days ago (Sat. 3/7/15).

Yes! This! Wake up art world!

There is much unregulated privilege in the art world. It’s a bubble of highly concentrated white supremacy, classism, sexism (and more!) with a handful of outliers. Playing innocently out of touch and pretending that the art world exists in a separate and special place that is removed from society only serves to ignore and therefore perpetuate social problems, and social problems means lives are lost (ehem… racism, police brutality). But if the issues are not painted in a picture to sell for millions by a big league artist, then it doesn’t matter, right? Because in that context it’s brave and groundbreaking…

“Unlike the group’s previous performances in more public venues, Saturday’s action was intended to raise issues like racism and police brutality that are often glossed over or simply ignored by the art market.” –From the Hyperallergic article entitled “Black Lives Matter Demonstrators Stage Die-In at the Armory Show,” which includes a video.

Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue, Flickr

Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue, Flickr

I admire the Armory show demonstrators, and also artists who care about social justice, see the big picture, and are taking action, like the Million Artist Movement who are a group of “Artists and Allies with Black Leadership who are committed to channeling and connecting people and organizations who are doing the work of social justice.”

Art is a powerful way to communicate. Not all of our art has to be about social justice, but shouldn’t we be using our voices to bring attention to social injustices that exist both inside and outside of the art world? Isn’t that better than pretending like our art has nothing to do with “the real world”?

We’d love to hear how you are your art practice intersects with social justice. We are seeking written or video submissions for our Artist Stories online library, a social justice project, and would love to hear from you.

Featured image photo credit: Gerry Lauzon, Flickr

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