The Washington Post

Occupy D.C. to host pop-up art gallery

Adrian Parsons is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police for blocking traffic on Independence Avenue this month. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Now the group plans to launch a pop-up art gallery at the protest’s McPherson Square encampment later this week.

Why not?

Performance artist-turned-D.C. voting rights hunger striker Adrian Parsons is collaborating with local artist Joseph Orzal of VESTIBULE, ”the dive bar of galleries,” to bring a “guerrilla” art gallery to Occupy D.C.’s McPherson Square headquarters. The eventual plan, Parsons said, is for the art to start popping up at currently undisclosed locations around the District. The project opens Dec. 30. (The Post’s Maura Judkis has more info here.)

An art gallery is out of left field; however, in some way it’s the natural next step for the encampment, which has been all over the map with recent activities and whose prominent member as of late is a local performance artist. (Parsons, by the way, is currently on Day 20 of a hunger strike he launched to draw attention to D.C. voting rights.)

Meanwhile, city officials — like the mayor — remain supportive but confused about what it is the group wants.

“What is frustrating for me, and I think of my own causes, is, what is the desired outcome here?” Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) told the Post’s Tim Craig. “Where are you trying to get to? ... You see signs that read, ‘End corporate rule.’ Well, how do you do that?”

This comes even as Gray requests a $1.6 million federal reimbursement in policing and trash removal costs incurred by the city to monitor the encampment.

Protesters also might be struggling more than ever to figure out the group’s message, if this recent interview with protesters is any indication.

“It’s definitely become more volatile, and we haven’t held each other accountable in productive ways,” protester Sophie Vic told the Examiner’s Aubrey Whelan.

On the other hand, a streamlined message may not be far off: Protesters from around the country will travel to D.C. Jan. 17 for “Occupy Congress,” already being billed by event organizers as the “largest Occupy protest ever!”


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