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Art heavyweights back new campaign targeting rise of right-wing populism

Tacita Dean, Ed Ruscha and Frances Morris sign-up in support of the Hands off our Revolution movement

by Gareth Harris  |  16 February 2017
Art heavyweights back new campaign targeting rise of right-wing populism
A still from Mark Titchner's animated web banner created for the Hands off our Revolution campaign
More than 200 artists, curators and writers—including Olafur Eliasson, Isaac Julien, Ed Ruscha and Tacita Dean—have thrown their weight behind a new project aimed at “confronting the rise of right-wing populism in the US and Europe”, they say. The new global art coalition, called Hands off our Revolution, launches today with an animated web banner created by the UK artist Mark Titchner; other related exhibitions and events are due to be announced next month.

The mission statement for the new organisation, formed in the light of the Brexit vote last June and Donald Trump’s US election victory, says: “We believe that art can help counter the rising rhetoric of right-wing populism and fascism, and its increasingly stark expressions of xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, and unapologetic intolerance… As artists, it is our job and our duty to reimagine and reinvent social relations threatened by right-wing populist rule. It is our responsibility to stand in solidarity. We will not go quietly.”

Titchner’s virtual banner reads “hands off” followed by flashing words and phrases such as “our borders/families/lives etc.”. In a statement he says: "No to the society that demands we all be alike. No to the coercion to consume and conform. No to the poisoned world that drives its people to flee into introspection and solitude. No to the dislocation, depression and anger this breeds. Art is for empathy.”

Other key names that have signed up to the cause include Frances Morris, the director of Tate Modern, the London-based dealer Sadie Coles and the South African artist William Kentridge.

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