ArtistsInstitutions 16-02-2017

Hands off our Revolution | Artists join forces in the face of rightwing populism

More than 200 artists, musicians, writers and curators have banded together to form an international coalition committed to fighting the rise of rightwing populism in Europe, the US and elsewhere.

The coalition, named Hands of our Revolution, will stage contemporary art exhibitions and events - the first of which will be announced in March - that will ask urgent questions about the current state of politics in the West. The exhibitions will take place in both major art institutions and alternative spaces around the world. In a mission statement, Hands of our Revolution spoke of their desire to fight the rise of fascism and the ensuing “stark expressions of xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, and unapologetic intolerance.”

The coalition’s roster of names features many high-profile art world figures, including Anish Kapoor, Laurie Anderson, Fiona Banner, Olafur Eliasson, Wolfgang Tillmans, Hal Foster, Okwui Enwezor, Ed Ruscha and Steve McQueen.

Adam Broomberg, one of the driving forces behind the project, said the initiative will explore “the possibility of envisaging a future we want to be in. Just countering the cynicism is a really big thing.” He added that the movement was already gaining traction: “The amount of support we’ve had has been amazing; people just saying thank you for giving us a place to put our anxiety and to share it.”



A number of the artists have made compelling statements about why they feel this project is so desperately necessary. Laurie Anderson said: "Artists need to stay in touch with each other more than ever and to focus on making clear effective and artful plans for resistance."

Iwona Blazwick, director of London’s Whitechapel Gallery, drew attention to the dramatic loss of jobs in farming and industry witnessed in recent years: "Economies and communities once flourished around jobs in industry, manufacturing and agriculture, jobs that are disappearing with no alternative in sight. Yet I have not heard a single politician put forward a credible strategy for devising inclusive, rewarding and sustainable forms of work. Which is why culture must step in."

The full list of those participating in the coalition, which is growing daily, can be found here.

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