Art of Occupy Wall Street

Art of Occupy Wall Street

Rhoni Blankenhorn for COMPANY

(October 20, 2011) Occupy Wall Street has been criticized for being disjointed in its message and for lack of a cohesive statement of purpose, but it is succeeding in facilitating international participation and discourse.  A huge part of this success is due to protestors figuring out creative methods of getting their ideas seen and heard.  In addition to posters, performances, and all sorts of events the old JP Morgan building is recently housed No Comment, a controversial exhibit  curated by Marika Maiorova and featuring works on the OWS theme including a flag of dollar bills that was eventually set on fire.  Shepard Fairey, creator of the Obama “Hope” posters and Obey, designed an invitation for protestors to join last Saturday’s Times Square demonstration.

Not only is art being made in solidarity with the movement, but the art world is also being criticized for exclusive tendencies and cultural elitism.  In late September, OSW took a stand against Sotheby’s auction house, in the name of the Sotheby’s art handlers who have been locked out since August 1. 

Today protestors are planning to occupy three major NYC museums: MoMA, the Frick, and The New Museum.  Organized by Noah Fischer, Occupy Museums takes a stand against these “temples” at the top of a “corrupt hierarchical system.”   It seems a bit beside the point to take a stand against institutions that were founded for the purpose of guiding the flow of culture, but increasingly exorbitant admissions costs ($25 for MoMA!) are definitely limiting access.

New York isn’t the first city to Occupy Museums.  A group in Washington DC occupied the Air and Space Museum, and protestors in Canada camped out in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Hrag Vartanian at Hyperallergic contends that contemporary art is by nature exclusive:

Contemporary art people like to think that they create art for the masses but in effect will laugh at work that is populist or appeals to a mass audience in the way of a Thomas Kinkade or Peter Max. You can dismiss mass opinions as potentially uninformed or uneducated but that’s, well, elitist. Who gets to decide what goes into a museum of the 99%? That’s a bigger question I’d love to know the answer to.

Schedule for Occupy Museums: Day 1, Thursday Oct. 20th Revised Schedule:

3:00 Meet at Liberty Park: Teach-in about the museums we are going to occupy
4:15 Livestream- read document in front of 5000 viewers.
Occupy the 4 train
5:00 Occupy MoMA: (hours: 10:30-5:30, 11 W 53rd Street)
Occupy the M3 Bus
6:00 Occupy Frick Collection: (hours: 10:00-6 PM, 1 East 70th Street)
Occupy the 6 train
7:00 Occupy New Museum: (Thursdays 6-8 free, 235 Bowery)
Via: Noah Fischer, Occupy Museums organizer.

In support of Occupy Wall Street, COMPANY is offering a 30% discount off any small print through the end of the week, making our museum-quality prints even more affordable.  As always, a portion of all proceeds directly supports the artist.

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