An expert explains why museums are subtly leading the resistance.
On January 20, as hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Washington, DC, to attend President Donald Trump’s inauguration, many artistic institutions across the country shut their doors for the day in an act of protest against the new commander in chief.
Yet no major American museum joined the artists’ strike. Instead, many opted for a subtler form of dissent, waiving their entrance fees or developing programs to specifically address the political moment, like the Whitney’s Speak Out event featuring artists and writers or the Brooklyn Museum’s seven-hour reading of Langston Hughes’s “Let America Be America Again.”
Since Trump took office, museums have continued to engage in what some have dubbed the “resistance,” with varying degrees of publicity and antagonism. When the White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day failed to explicitly mention Jews, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum issued a statement that included this quiet rebuke:
Millions of other innocent civilians were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis, but the elimination of Jews was central to Nazi policy. As Elie Wiesel said, “Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims.”
“Many museums now have at least a component of them that are activist — by that, I mean wanting to participate in a healthy civic culture and conversation,” said Edward Linenthal, a professor in the history department at the University of Indiana Bloomington with a particular interest in studying controversial museum exhibitions.
He noted that the restraint with which museums have recently engaged in outright political criticism is important, pointing out that it is precisely because museums exist as “demilitarized zones” that they become places where people from all across the spectrum can engage with difficult themes or topics. Museums …read more
Source:: Vox – All