A group of artists inspired by, but not necessarily connected to, Occupy Wall Street were evicted from a New York gallery space 28 hours after they began an Occupy-style sit in. The group, which recorded its actions on the Tumblr Take Artists Space, was asked to leave Artists Space, a Soho nonprofit, after the gallery said that staff members endured physical threats and theft of property. The incident follows close on the heels of the much-criticized Occupy Museums action last week.
Take Artists Space, made up of 10 artists, wrote about their reasons for claiming the space on their blog:
Amidst accusations of moral deficiency and political immaturity, the same accusations wielded by the owners of Zuccotti Park at the start of its occupation, the former administrators of the space have fortunately vacated from the premises. To desperately claim profit or non-profit obscures the fact that both assertions of public and private stay within the categorization of the limits of capitalist thought; something which should never be forgotten when engaged with struggles that call into question the a historical and eternal value of property.
Commenters replied that the action was “nauseating.” Occupy Museums, which aimed to bring attention to the 1 percent’s control over the art market despite the fact that museums make art and art education available to the 99 percent, has endured criticism as well. Lee Rosenbaum writes, “If the ‘Occupy’ movement is looking to attack the forces that have played a significant role in widening the gap between the haves and have-nots, they’ve made a questionable choice in targeting art museums.”
Artists Space tried to play nice with the protesters, according to a statement they posted on their site:
After participation of all staff members in now 24 hours of discussion with the occupiers and enduring physical threats and theft of property, and more so as a result of this being an agendaless occupation, we jointly concluded as per this evening to ask the occupiers to leave the Artists Space property so that we can get on with our work. They have complied with this request, and have left the building.
(via In The Air)