Serious artiste Shia LaBeouf’s latest artistic endeavor was dealt a serious blow this month when it was shut down at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY.
HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US is a “participatory performance artwork resisting the normalisation of division,” according to Shia’s latest press release. Despite the highfalutin description, it was basically a webcam that you were supposed to record yourself saying “he will not divide us” in front of to spurn anything Trump. The plan was to have it run the entire length of Trump’s presidency (so, four years if we’re lucky, eight years if the universe hates us, and endlessly if it becomes the dictatorship we’re all fearing). Unfortunately for Shia, it was given the boot after alt-right fuckfaces and assorted Neo-Nazis kept showing up to troll it and The Beouf himself.
Well, you can’t keep well-meaning pretentiousness down! WILLNOTDIVIDE.US will re-open at the El Rey Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hey, at least everyone will be warm when Shia brawls with Pepe the Frog again.
Shia was arrested in late January for getting into an alleged physical altercation with an under-the-bridge dweller at the site. It wasn’t the only time Shia got punchy.
In the release, Shia and Co. took the Museum of the Moving Image to task for letting the exhibit get out of hand, blaming them for a lack of security as well as accusing them of exploiting the project for publicity. Well, it’s a museum, can you blame them? Do you know how hard it is to get people to go to museums nowadays? A Real Housewives Of… episode is on somewhere. Priorities!
From the outset, the museum failed to address our concerns about the misleading framing of our piece as a political rally, rather than as a participatory performance artwork resisting the normalisation of division.
In fact, the museum demonstrated a spectacular lack of judgement—and courtesy to us as artists—by neglecting to consult us when they staged a political rally at the site of our artwork on January 29, 2017.
On numerous occasions, we voiced serious concerns to the museum about hate speech occurring at the site of our project, and requested that the museum act responsibly in moderating this and providing the public a means of reporting such incidents. Our requests were not even acknowledged, let alone acted upon.
Shia might not have been the one writing their PR missive, because the author seems to be unaware that there were numerous scuffles at the site.
Nonetheless, there had been no incidents of physical violence at the site of our project that we are aware of, nor that we had been informed of at any stage by the museum.
Shia reportedly trying to throttle a dude with his own scarf and while raking dude’s face with his nails was just part of the show, I guess?
The artists also suspect that Trump might have something to do with the piece being shut down.
It is our understanding that the museum bowed to political pressure in ceasing their involvement with our project. We were only informed of the museum’s capitulation in an email from their attorney, Brendan O’Rourke—a lawyer who we note also represents the current president.
Hopefully, HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US will be successful and tussle-free in its new home. Another hope is that it will only have to exist for a couple of more minutes, because this is all a bad dream I’m having and I’m going to wake up in Pantsuit Nation any time now. Please?