New Global Arts Coalition Launches to Counter Right-Wing Populism

  • Still of animated web banner by Mark Titchner for Hands Off Our Revolution.

    Still of animated web banner by Mark Titchner for Hands Off Our Revolution.

Hundreds of artists have signed on to a new coalition that aims to counter right-wing ideology and policies with public-facing responses in art. The group called Hands Off Our Revolution already lists support from notable artists, musicians, writers, and gallerists such as Ed Ruscha, Anish Kapoor, Sadie Coles, Sam Durant, Tacita Dean, Catherine Opie, Marilyn Minter, Tony Oursler and many others.

Launched on Thursday, the movement's website states:

We are a global coalition affirming the radical nature of art. We believe that art can help counter the rising rhetoric of right-wing populism, fascism and the increasingly stark expressions of xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia and unapologetic intolerance.

We know that freedom is never granted – it is won. Justice is never given – it is exacted. Both must be fought for and protected, yet their promise has seldom been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp, as at this moment.

As artists, it is our job and our duty to reimagine and reinvent social relations threatened by right-wing populist rule. It is our responsibility to stand together in solidarity. We will not go quietly. It is our role and our opportunity, using our own particular forms, private and public spaces, to engage people in thinking together and debating ideas, with clarity, openness and resilience.

Artist Adam Broomberg was one of the collective's initiators. He told the Guardian that the group will react to world events like Brexit, the immigration crisis and the Trump administration.

Broomberg said, "Just countering the cynicism is a really big thing." Adding, “What is important is that it is not just seen as America’s problem, or Europe’s problem, so we are planning shows in Mexico and Lagos.”

Hands Off Our Revolution will engage in a "series of contemporary art exhibitions and actions that confront, head on, the rise of right-wing populism in the US, Europe and elsewhere. Exhibitions featuring critically engaged contemporary artists and taking place in central art institutions as well as alternative spaces, that will bring into public view statements, questions and reflections on the state we are in. To do what art has always endeavored: to help envision and shape the world in which we want to live."

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