The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States warranted a robust response—and at Walker Reader, we offered four new original perspectives on January 20, 2017—two Artist Op-Eds, a reading list, and a short but pointed first-person reaction:
1. "Critical Administration: On Artstrike and Institutions," an Artist Op-Ed by João Enxuto and Erica Love
"What will the relationship between art museums and their publics look like following recent global events like Brexit and the US elections?" The art duo offers an examination of social change and protest, both within and targeted at art institutions.
2. "A Reading List for the New America," multiple authors
"Our country and world are clearly in the midst of seismic changes—politically, environmentally, socially, economically. How do we prepare for the uncertain future we’re facing?" Twenty-six figures in the arts—including artists Tania Bruguera and Hank Willis Thomas, curators Adrienne Edwards and Philip Bither, and arts media personalities Kimberly Drew and Chris Cloud—share share recommendations for articles and books, poems and novels that could prove instructive in the coming years.
3. "Forward Ever, Backward Never: Revisiting a ’90s Artwork in Light of 2017’s Political Realities," an Artist Op-Ed by Gary Simmons
Simmons created his artwor4k Everforward—white boxing gloves embroidered with "Everforward" and "Neverback"—in response to turmoil: the killing of Yusef Hawkins, recession, AIDS. On Inauguration Day 2017, he reconsiders the work two decades later—its echoes and its call for artists and others to fight back.
4. "'Some New Splintering': Okwui Okpokwasili on the US Presidential Election," by Okwui Okpokwasili
The Nigerian-American performance artist writes, in part: "...the only comfort that I have right now is that there is a vast community of people I know and do not know, who are also waking up every day with some new splintering. And many of them work every day to keep from normalizing racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, xenophobia, threats to the fourth estate, a raging and unfettered capitalism, climate-change deniers and an emerging kakistocracy. It is with them that I join the ragged shards of my heart to build a bigger and more resilient heart that continues the work of building greater empathy, of seeing in each other the promise of our future, and inspiring in each other the will to work to build that future."