Protest and Visibility:
Resisting Through the Art of Erasure
For decades, artists and collectives have used tactics such as artist strikes and the closing of arts institutions as a means of generating media and attention around political issues which have divided the nation. Today, such movements continue to influence forms of political resistance in the American (and global) arts sphere—most recently the J20 strike, which took place on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration. The strike called for arts and cultural institutions to close for the day as a means of protesting the incoming administration. This paper seeks to draw parallels between historic gestures and acts of political resistance such as those initiated by the Artists and Writers Protest and the Artists’ Protest Committee in the mid-1960s, while tracing their influence on current political actions and protests initiated by artists. I further hope to reflect on the notions of visibility, censorship and symbolism inherently tied to such actions and the differences between them when undertaken by artists, collectives or institutions.
Presented at "Cleared for Publication: Censorship, Freedom and Visual Culture," Graduate Art History Symposium, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba, Israel
June 20, 2019