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Galleries to Close on Inauguration Day to Protest 'Normalization' of Trump

By Allegra Hobbs | January 18, 2017 4:19pm
 A sign by artist Gregory Sholette, whose exhibition
A sign by artist Gregory Sholette, whose exhibition "Darker" is currently on display at the Station Independent Projects gallery.
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Station Independent Projects

MANHATTAN — A collection of local art galleries will close Friday as Donald Trump is sworn in as the nation's 45th president — a form of silent protest against the candidate and a show of solidarity with nationwide marches occurring over the weekend, organizers said.

The participating galleries, falling predominantly in Chelsea and the Lower East Side, are part of a larger movement called the "J20 Art Strike," which calls for galleries, theaters, museums and academic institutions to close their doors on Jan. 20 as an "act of non-compliance" to protest the president-elect.

"We consider Art Strike to be one tactic among others to combat the normalization of Trumpism—a toxic mix of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, militarism, and oligarchic rule," reads a letter published to the movement's website, signed by dozens of artists and critics.

"Like any tactic, it is not an end in itself, but rather an intervention that will ramify into the future. It is not a strike against art, theater, or any other cultural form. It is an invitation to motivate these activities anew, to reimagine these spaces as places where resistant forms of thinking, seeing, feeling, and acting can be produced."

While 19 art galleries and a handful of nonprofit groups and academic centers will shutter altogether Friday, some museums will provide free admission and special programming.

Admission for the The Whitney Museum on Friday is "pay-what-you-wish," and the museum will offer special tours of an exhibition called "My America," exploring immigration, race, ethnicity and identity.

► READ MORE: 17 Things to Do on Inauguration Day in New York City

Local gallerists who answered the call to close their business in protest said they were moved to stand in solidarity with those who fear a Trump presidency.

"We are a gallery of many women, a gallery of many people who are non-white, we are a gallery of conscientious people," said Alissa Friedman, partner and director at Lower East Side gallery Salon 94 at 243 Bowery.

"It's almost like a quiet kind of symbolic gesture, but it's something we felt was important to stand in solidarity with."

Another Lower East Side gallerist said she saw her space's shuttering as a first step in what she hopes will be a larger movement to resist perceived injustice in the coming years.

"It's a first step, just like the marches," said Leah Oates, owner of Station Independent Projects. "I think it's just a first, initial reaction to show we're not just going to sit back and be quiet."

The art strike is also a show of solidarity with protest marches planned for Inauguration Day, according to organizers  — many observers plan to attend special programming at the Whitney or other museums before gathering at Cooper Union to create protest signs in preparation for a "NYC Stand Against Trump" march that will convene downtown in Foley Square at around 5 p.m.

Here is a complete list of art galleries, by neighborhood, that will close on Inauguration Day:

Lower East Side:

► Miguel Abreu Gallery

► ESSEX STREET

► Bitforms Gallery

► Canada

► Lyles & King

► LMAK Gallery

► Salon 94

► Station Independent Projects

► Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects

Chelsea:

► Lisson Gallery

► Andrew Kreps

► Alexander Gray

► Burning in Water

► Cheim & Reid

► Garth Greenan

► Steven Kasher Gallery

TriBeCa:

► Alexander & Bonin

Chinatown:

► Foxy Productions

Dumbo:

► Minus Space

For a list of other creative spaces and institutions participating in the strike, click here.