Exhibitions and Activism
By Sandra Tyler, Editor-in-Chief
In light of recent events, of the reckless, dangerous, and entirely callous trajectory of our new president, I applaud the resistance by the arts community, from the more national movements of the J20 Art strike and petitions circulating by Americans for the Arts Action, to the more local of actual gallery activism. One such gallery is Walter Maciel of Los Angeles. They have on view now through March 4 their exhibition With Liberty and Justice for Some– featuring the work of several contemporary artists who were invited to create portraits of United States immigrants. Curator Walter Maciel soon after the election recognized the acute need for galleries to address these issues within their curatorial programs.
The idea for this exhibition was sparked by Bay Area artist Monica Lundy and another Maciel artist, Hung Liu. Artists across the country were invited to submit 8 x 8–inch portraits of US immigrants, including historical subjects, personal friends, relatives, strangers, and even self-portraits. These portraits represent a wide spectrum of communities now threatened with repression: African Americans, LGBTQ persons, Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, refugees, and women. Renowned figures on display include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Jamaican political leader Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., and Province of Pennsylvania founder William Penn. This show of support through actual curation is to be commended; nothing like the visual to open eyes to truth. To grow a much-needed awareness.
This is not to say all galleries now need curate their shows around current issues—these creative venues need to uphold freedom of all kinds of artistic expression. But the catalyst for With Liberty and Justice for Some could perhaps spark the beginning of a movement: The Walter Maciel gallery will donate a portion of its proceeds from sales to various non-profits, including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the LA and SF LGBT Centers.
The flip side, of course, is that most galleries are non-profits themselves, in need of their own donations. But if galleries across the country were to donate partial sale proceeds, however small the percentage from at least one show in 2017, that perhaps could add up to some significant funds. As WTP is a supporter of the fine arts, we offer up this challenge: Any gallery that donates their own partial sale proceeds in this fight to uphold our democracy, we will allot complimentary ad space for the duration of that particular exhibition, profile your gallery, and publicize the exhibition on our Arts Features page. Finally, 20% of any donations to WTP for the duration of the exhibition will be donated to the gallery.
We ask our subscribers and followers to please share this, to help grow momentum for this movement within our local art communities across the country. And do visit the Walter Maciel website; consider investing in one of these portraits commemorating the diversity this country is founded upon.
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