MoMA Takes a Stand: Art From Banned Countries Comes Center Stage
Trump’s recent executive order banning travel and revoking visas for citizens of several Muslim filled nations has received a response from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The museum has redone its most popular fifth-floor permanent-collection galleries —filled with Western Modernism, from Cézanne through World War II — to showcase contemporary art from Iran, Iraq and Sudan, where their citizens are currently banned. Famous pieces from artists like Picasso came down and have been replaced for seven months with artists who, if they are alive and abroad, cannot see their work in the museum’s most respected galleries. Each piece of work is accompanied by a description that states: “This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on January 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum, as they are to the United States.”
Throughout history, people have witnessed multiple acts of injustice. During times of difficulty, some people gain courage and speak out against what they believe is wrong. MoMA is taking a stand just like Fred Korematsu took action against being relocated into an internment camp, although the Supreme Court appealed his case. Just like Korematsu, MoMA is bringing awareness to the extremity of this issue.
Why is it important for well-known institutions like MoMa to speak out against current issues rather than remain silent? How does art connect society?