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[Art Strike 1990-1993]
A Day Without MuseumsDecember 1, 1991
- What started as a sincere observance of the absence from the
cultural community of all the artists who have died of AIDS has now degenerated into a hollow gesture repeated ad nauseam every year into an unthinking ritual that no one would dare not to observe. Once again, artists have responded to a crisis with a simulacrum-a pseudo-absence-and have reduced all legitimate concern we might have for PWAs and those who are HIV-positive to mere appreciation of an esthetic gesture.
- December 1st has therefore become a day without absence: the absence of thousands of artists, and the absence of what they would have continued to create. By having a day without art without absence, we are in fact having nothing at all.
- It is for these reasons that the Aggressive School of
Cultural Workers, Iowa Chapter, has declared December 1, 1991, to be A Day Without Museums and A Day Without Artists .
University of Iowa Museum of Art
- The Aggressive School of
Cultural Workers, Iowa Chapter, has decided that this year it is time to act up in the face of the University Museum's token observances of A Day Without Art.
- It is not enough to cloak some boring old pictures with a piece of black cloth, or to pin up some pathetic participatory statements, while at the same time continue with business as usual. We single out this museum as a matter of local practicality, but this action is directed at all institutions that have made and are making similar gestures in this observance.
- Art museums and similar institutions have already become nothing more than mausoleums for dead art. In this sense, the Gregorian chants which are to be sung in the museum today serve as a fittingly ironic testimony to the "service" the museum offers to this community as a reliquary for sacred objects of the past.
- It is for these reasons that we have locked the doors of the Museum of Art. These chains are not intended to actually stop anyone from getting into the museum. Rather, they create a situation where entry must be forceably obtained, and where gathering at this museum cannot be done without confronting the reality we have created. Business as usual cannot be permitted in light of the unrelenting tragedy of AIDS. This is our attempt to make this observance of A Day without Art felt confrontationally and to spur reconsideration and debate as to what really constitutes an appropriate response to this crisis.
- Like the chains on these doors, the chains of silence surrounding the AIDS epidemic must be broken. For too long this silence has kept AIDS and its victims in the closet, afraid to admit they have the disease or that they carry it, and afraid to speak out on their own behalf.