Raise high your palette knives! Wave your unstretched canvas! Occupy Wall Street has hit the art world. In recent weeks, protestors have disrupted Sotheby’s auctions in solidarity with union art handlers who have been on strike for more than two months, read manifestos outside of art museums and temporarily occupied Artists Space, a nonprofit gallery in Soho. If you haven’t been following the minute-to-minute developments on Gallerist, here’s a recap of the Occupy actions.
October 24, 9:00 AM: The group that occupied Artists Space on Saturday after noon, remaining until they were asked to leave yesterday evening, have issued a statement on their Tumblr blog, which provides some background on their action. It begins as follows:
“The occupation at 38 Greene Street ended at 8PM on Sunday October 23rd, 28 hours after it began.
“The administrators of the Artists Space, under the influence of their board of directors, brought in a paid private security force of five to affirm the sanctity of their non-profit private property.
“Earlier, the Executive Director and his minions (apparently ignorant of their own exploitation and unwilling to join in the occupation) had been rudely shoved aside by a fraction of the movement which attempts, in sometimes distorted ways, to develop a critique of the existent. Clinging to the veneer of legitimacy still provided, in some minds, by the non-profit industrial complex, he took advantage of the occupiers’ patience and tolerance to hinder, as best he could, any real flourishing of rebellion in the space he had formerly controlled.
“Threatening and reminding us of the illegal nature of the occupation and his power to bring down the NYPD on our heads, he belligerently intimidated while farcically insisting on his sympathy with the movement. If he did not immediately use police violence to evict the occupation, this was of course only because of his cowardly attachment to his so-called “radical” credentials, status and image.”