‘Occupy Museums’ Will Bring ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Anger to MoMA, Frick, New Museum

occupy museums2 1 e1319062299764 Occupy Museums Will Bring Occupy Wall Street Anger to MoMA, Frick, New Museum

The logo of Occupy Museums. (Courtesy Occupy Museums)

The Occupy Wall Street protests, which just entered their second month, have spilled over into the art world in recent weeks. Protests have been held at Sotheby’s, and now a group calling itself Occupy Museums announced today that it will assemble at Zuccotti Park, the headquarters of the protests, on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m., and then travel to the Museum of Modern Art and the Frick Collection, reading a manifesto at each stop along the way.

“We’re at a moment where the one percent controls the government and the culture,” Mr. Fischer, 34, who has been involved in organizing Occupy Museums, told Gallerist over the telephone. “With Occupy Museums, we are encouraging people to think about who museums serve, and calling the art world out on its elitism and its abuse of labor. The conversation is very, very important here.”

Disclosure: this writer took a drawing class as an undergraduate with Mr. Fischer in 2006, though we have not been in contact since then.

A text from Occupy Museums has been posted on blogger Paddy Johnson’s Tumblr account. It begins as follows:

“The game is up: we see through the pyramid schemes of the temples of cultural elitism controlled by the 1%. No longer will we, the artists of the 99%, allow ourselves to be tricked into accepting a corrupt hierarchical system based on false scarcity and propaganda concerning absurd elevation of one individual genius over another human being for the monetary gain of the elitest of elite.”

The group does not plan to occupy the museum beyond its regular visiting hours, according to Mr. Fischer. “This is about making a statement about democracy, to let the museums know we’re here,” Mr. Fischer explained. “We’ll see if that happens another time.”

Mr. Fischer, who attended Columbia’s MFA program, said that he has been involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests since they started a little over a month ago, and is a member of the arts and culture committee, which has been organizing actions related to the protests.

Gallerist asked how the group picked its targets. “MoMA has long been associated with the elitist of the elite of the art establishment,” Mr. Fischer said. “That doesn’t mean it’s a bad place, and it doesn’t mean that the art there isn’t good, but it shouldn’t be charging $25 to get in.”

“We are conditioned to accept all kinds of hierarchies and worship money,” Mr. Fischer said. “A lot of what is going on in Occupy Wall Street is that we are creating a space to unlearn those kinds of things.”


  1. guest says:

    Go occupy a job

  2. dddddd says:

    99% have bought a lot of art and financed many struggling artists.

  3. Gbshaw1856 says:

    what a pity Mr. Fisher is unaware of having been the victim of channeling: his entire ethos seems circa 1910 Russia — certainly he can write no better – unless of course he is simply the What Makes Sammy Run Opportunist of the present Celebrity Cult.

  4. […] Occupy Wall Street’s gotten artsy by planning to ‘Occupy Museums’ this afternoon at sites including the MoMa.  Perhaps they’ll check out the de Kooning exhibit while they’re at it. {NYObserver} […]

  5. Alan W. Moore says:

    So it begins… this kind of critique is always productive — cf. Hans Haacke’s career. (His retrospective, BTW, is being organized in Spain under a socialist government, natch.) The act that launched the Art Workers Coalition in 1969 today seems almost beyond comprehension — “They have exhibited my work without my permission,” said Takis in organizing the initial action in MoMA. The result was a widespread a thorough-going critique of the institional exhibition system which went on for several years. The response was a changed pattern of exhibition and curation on the part of the museums… The time now is ripe for something similar, I’d say. -Alan W. Moore, author “Art Gangs: Protest and Counterculture in NYC”

  6. […] the protest all along, with an eye towards future exhibitions. Even with the art-world spin-off Occupy Museums, meant to get “people to think about who museums serve, and calling the art world out on its […]