This week, a museum in Massachusetts is making a strong statement about the importance of diversity in art. The Davis Museum at Wellesley College is omitting all pieces that were made or donated by immigrants until the end of President’s Day weekend. The name of the protest-turned-art-show is “Art-Less”.
Museum staff have moved or covered approximately 120 pieces of artwork, replacing them with signs that say “Made by an Immigrant”, or “Given by an Immigrant”. The goal is to highlight the fact that 20 percent of the museum’s permanent collection comes from immigrants, making them an important group of contributors.
The museum explained its decision in an online statement, saying:
“We have removed or cloaked these works to demonstrate symbolically what the Davis Museum would look like without their contributions to our collections and to Wellesley College, and to thereby honor their many invaluable gifts.”
A notable piece that has been temporarily redacted is a portrait of George Washington. It was painted by an immigrant named Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller, and later donated to the museum by an immigrant family. The blank space serves as a stark reminder that many of the things we claim as American actually come from someplace else entirely.
“Art-Less” is just one of many thoughtful, creative responses to President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban. The order, which banned immigrants from seven prominently Muslim countries, has been met with a barrage of protests and criticism. Compassionate people everywhere came together and made it clear that this injustice will not stand.
It’s up to all of us to confront and eliminate racism in America. Otherwise, how can we claim to be a country that provides safe haven for everyone?
Featured image by Davis Museum via CNN