LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner’s ‘HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US’ livestream brought international attention to a unique presidential protest project, where artist Shia LaBeouf was frequently at the frontline. But after allegations of too much aggression between protestors of differing political views, the Museum of the Moving Image shut the exhibit down 0n February 10.
But the team is planning a return, and this time they’re moving across the country. In a joint statement released on Feb. 18, the trio revealed that they will be setting up camp at the El Rey Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The provocative statement also reveals that the MOMI lawyer who informed LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner that the exhibit was closing also represents President Trump, implying that conflicting interests were behind the decision.
Read LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner’s full statement, originally posted to the project’s website, below:
On February 10, 2017, The Museum of the Moving Image abandoned HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US. Their evident lack of commitment to the project is damning.
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.
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.
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.
It is clear, therefore, that the Museum of the Moving Image is not fit to speak of our intent as artists.
As of February 18, 2017, we are proud to be continuing HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US at the El Rey Theater, Albuquerque.