Thursday, May 01, 2008

1 plastic dome, and 1 totem pole...

artists protesting moma circa 1960

artists protesting moma circa 1960

in 1940, the american abstract artists staged a demonstration at a ny museum, protesting the lack of abstraction in their exhibition program. 20 years later, a group of realist painters staged a protest at moma to complain about a policy of not showing realistic works, and for "encouraging artists to execute absurdities for the entertainment of its elite public."

the above photos of the 1960 demonstration are from the 1961 book 'the artist's world' by fred w. mcdarrah, which chronicles the new york art scene in the late 1950's with a ton of photos. the pictures above struck me as being interesting in that artists were actually so pissed off about being excluded from an exhibition program that they got together and staged a real protest. of course, folks like the guerrilla girls still take action against exhibition policies related to gender and race; but when's the last time you saw artists protesting a museum simply because they weren't supporting a genre.

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