THE PROTEST AND THE RECUPERATION
The Protest and The Recuperation is a survey of artistic perspectives and responses on the global phenomenon of mass protest, as well as recuperative strategies of resistance. In these times, contemporary art has the capacity to focus our attention differently to what we learn from various media sources, or even our own experiences in protest. This exhibition presents a focused selection of works that register the power of mass protest from a deeply human perspective. It highlights the individual-to-individual connection in the collective spaces of the mass protest, recovery and care.
Over the past several years we have seen a marked increase in the globalization of mass protests, which oftentimes organically arose from local political conditions exacerbated by the growing gap in economic opportunities. The populace, or what Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt call “the multitudes,” have been expressing their deep dissatisfaction through street protests about issues ranging from women’s rights to citizenship to climate change activism. From Washington D.C. and Standing Rock, South Dakota to Cairo, Eygpt and Hong Kong to hundreds of small towns across India, people from large swaths of demographic sectors have been literally taking to the streets to voice their concern and outrage.
This exhibition—featuring 10 contemporary artists from around the globe from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Santiago, Chile—is in dialogue with a larger history than it is able to represent. From the Arab Spring in 2011 through 2020 we have seen a constant ebb and flow of uprisings, with a renewed surge in the United States after President Trump took office, as seen in the stunning 2017 Women’s March. In 2019 we saw a significant percentage of Hong Kongers come together to fight against China’s “big hand,” the Friday protests in Algiers and the protests against government corruption in Baghdad that fueled sectarian divides within Iraq. In 2020, in spite of the COVID-19 virus pandemic we saw a swell of anti-racism protests against police brutality and the rising up of citizens against election corruption in Belarus.