Museum makes a statement by removing artwork created or donated by immigrants
Presidents’ Day is usually a time for mattress sales and a three-day weekend, during which we celebrate two of the greatest presidents in our country’s history. Not this year.
This Presidents’ Day, a museum in Massachusetts is spending the weekend symbolically rebuking our current president and his policies on immigration.
According to CNN, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College outside of Boston is removing all their immigrant artwork.
Instead of displaying the museum’s many pieces of art created by immigrants, curators will drape black cloth over their cases, and post labels reading “Created by an immigrant” on the walls. They’re calling it “Art-less” and it’s meant to call attention to the impact immigrants have on this country, including the art world.
“We have removed or cloaked these works to demonstrate symbolically what the Davis Museum would look like without their contributions to our collections and to Wellesley College, and to thereby honor their many invaluable gifts,” the museum states on its website.
Twenty percent of the Davis museum’s pieces – either created by or donated by immigrants – will be removed or obscured all weekend, including a portrait of George Washington that was created by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller, who immigrated to the United States in 1790.
This weekend is typically spent celebrating (however nominally) our nation’s greatest leaders, one of whom helped found the country and the other of whom shepherded it and held it together through one of its darkest eras. But the times, they are a-different. President Trump’s executive orders, alarming press conferences, and combative personality, not to mention the myriad controversies and scandals embroiling his administration, haven’t created a very celebratory atmosphere.
Protests have been happening consistently throughout the past month, and have taken a variety of forms. Add Wellesley College’s “Art-Less” demonstration to the list of marches, boycotts, and demonstrations people across the country are using in an attempt to #resist.
The museum is also offering a way for others to join them in their symbolic support of the immigrants who’ve made this country what it is:
“Sympathetic institutions that would like to underscore the contributions of immigrants to their own collections can download these labels for use here.”
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