LETTER OF SOLIDARITY – To the participants and organizers of the exhibition Agitprop! at the Brooklyn Museum
To read more about the Anti-Gentrification movement in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Museum Artists, writers and critics’ Open Letter: No Real Estate Summit at the Brooklyn Museum!
To the participants and organizers of the exhibition Agitprop! at the Brooklyn Museum
As participants in the exhibition, we call for solidarity with the Anti-Gentrification movement in Brooklyn. As the conceptual framework of the exhibition claims: there is no division between art and activism.
Therefore we appreciate the decision of the Museum to include “The People’s Monument to Anti-Displacement” (PMAD) into the show and their commitment to support the concerns of the community the Museum is located in and should represent. It seems now that the Brooklyn Museum is backing out of their agreement to host the Anti-Gentrification/Displacement Summit that should take place on July 10, 2016, highlighting the struggles of the community in regards to gentrification and displacement.
We strongly hope that the Museum keeps their promise to allow a program that addresses re-zoning, displacement, homelessness, eviction, harassment, police brutality, and other impacting factors affecting communities of color.
We live in a world where forced migration, segregation and displacement of the poor, of refugees and homeless have become normality. Many European states have closed their borders and built fences physically hindering hundred of thousands of people to seek refuge in the safe and wealthy states of the European Union. European cities have established fenced refugee camps, a system that decades before was put into practice to house Roma communities that have been brutally evicted from their settlements. This is a structural problem of the capitalist system that profits from structural exclusion and class racism, securing low production costs and thus maximizing the profit of the 1%. On top of that, segregation and surveillance of the poor, housing in camps and minimum social services for evicted and excluded communities generates extra-profit and jobs for the security and social services sector.
We think that the Brooklyn Museum, as a public institution, could have an outstanding role in addressing life-threatening displacement and eviction, because it has established a good contact with the community and welcoming attitude towards the local Anti-Gentrification network.
We believe that the Museum has a great responsibility to maintain the good contact with the local community, exactly because the critical voices and engaged practices put at display within the exhibition Agitprop! can’t be divorced from actual people and real problems.
We have informed the curator and exhibition organizers that we want the loan fee for our piece Red Winter exhibited at the show to be transferred directly to the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network, and we are trying to find an administrative solution for making this happen.
Our Commons are Free Movement, Access to Land, Water and Knowledge!
Rena Raedle and Vladan Jeremic