Any artwork that was either created or donated by immigrants will be removed from display at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, until President’s Day weekend. The work that is currently displayed there that is linked to immigrants will be draped with black cloth over all artwork cases, as well as curators marking the walls with labels that will say “Created by an immigrant”, according to recent reports.
The current initiative had been called “Art-Less”, with a purpose of highlighting the impact that immigrants have in America, including throughout the creative world of art. The museum has said, “We have removed or cloaked these works to demonstrate symbolically what the Davis Museum would look like without their contributions to our collections and to Wellesley College, and to thereby honor their many invaluable gifts.” This explains that the movement is symbolic of the removal of immigrants from America by the empty spaces on the museum walls.
One of the pieces of artwork that has now been removed is the portrait of George Washington that was created by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller. Wertmüller is an immigrant who came to the US back in the 1970s, and in addition to this, the artwork was donated to the Davis Museum by an immigrant family. The museum has now stated that due to any immigrant artwork now being covered with black cloth, this movement has taken away around 20 percent of the work in its permanent galleries, due to the fact that this relatively large percentage is the amount of work that has been either created or donated by immigrants over the years.
Director of the Davis told blouinartinfo.com, “We wanted to respond to the situation of anxiety and concern raised by the immigration ban. We decided that an intervention in the galleries would be the best way to go because we have recently done a lot of research into not only specific objects within the collection, but also the donors who created the collection here over the years. We were able to kind of parse the works in terms of immigrant artists and immigrant collections. It turned out to be about 20 per cent of everything we have on view, which was astonishing.”
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