All across the nation, various companies, restaurants, and citizens are going on strike as part of the “Day Without Immigrants” protests to send a message to the Trump administration, whose executive orders and ICE raids have been targeting immigrants.
But it’s not just businesses and ordinary people protesting Trump.
The Davis Museum at Wellesley College has decided that to “celebrate” Presidents Day Weekend, they will be de-installing or obscuring all of the works of art in their permanent collection that were either made by immigrant artists or donated by collectors who are immigrants. About one-fifth of the collection will be either removed or covered and a placard that reads “Made by an immigrant” or “given by an immigrant” will take its place. The project is called “Art-Less” and will be on display from today through February 21.
“We decided to stage this over the Presidents’ Day holiday because that resonates symbolically,” Lisa Fischman, director of the Davis Museum, told the Art Newspaper. “We decided to stage this over the Presidents’ Day holiday because that resonates symbolically.”
Even a portrait of George Washington will be taken down, because it was painted by Swedish immigrant Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller and was donated by a Swedish immigrant family. Fleishman noted that the African art section will be almost entirely “lost to view,” because nearly 80% of the work was donated from a single family of Polish immigrants.
The Davis Museum isn’t the only art institution taking a stand. The MoMA has replaced seven works of art by western contemporary artists with works by artists from countries affected by Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. New York Fashion Week, arguably an artistic endeavor in its own way, has been chockfull of political statements. Recognizing the contributions of immigrants, particularly those more pointedly antagonized by Trump’s administration, is of the utmost importance, and it’s great to see art organizations and institutions standing up for their artists and patrons with bold statements.