01.19.2017 · Exhibitions
A statement from The Luminary's founders on why we will remain open during the inauguration on January 20th, 2017.
Upon realizing that the date of our exhibition opening, "Off Modern: In What Time Do We Live?" would intersect with the inauguration, we were faced with an unclear choice: do we keep the date or reschedule in solidarity with the J20 strike that many of our friends and collaborators are organizing, circulating and participating in.
The decision not to strike is not to oppose the strike; in this case it is to amend it within our own context, to state the heightened value of gathering in what we vigilantly attempt to maintain as a safe space - for shelter, for dissent, for each of our artists’ and audience’s voices. Galleries are not passive spaces, and as has been argued well elsewhere including in Hrag Vartanian’s editorial for Hyperallergic, are not typically even seen as safe by the most vulnerable among us.
Across the nation, we are gathering in the streets or in front of flickering screens, in bars and public plazas, as well as, yes, in galleries. We won’t ask the artists or the exhibition to bear the weight of the time and its auspicious overlaps, but we do reformulate the question: “In What Time Do We Live?” Our original proposition was cultural, art historical. It asked how we locate ourselves, or our objects, within a narrative, of shifting “idea of time as a succession of moments” into “an idea of time as a set of possibilities.” We are faced with profound possibilities: both tragic and, optimistically, transformative. We wonder out loud now: "In what Time Do We Live?” Can we live in another time? Can we reshape the time?”
Our exhibition was scheduled well before the election and our programs, in whatever form they are able, will certainly sustain past the inauguration. With this statement, we mark the transition and acknowledge the fallibility of this and all positions in the face of such unknown terrain. This fallibility, however, is explicitly not one of complicity with the pending administration, or of silence in the face of any form of oppression. We will gladly hold space in an empty gallery if it means people are filling the streets and will likewise welcome and shelter all forms of gathering within the gallery if that is what is needed. Regardless, we will remain open and present today and in the days ahead in solidarity with those striking, marching, as well as with those continuing to make work, gather, and press forward.