Anish Kapoor has joined the shouts of dissent against the actions of new US President Donald Trump and created a protest work inspired by the great Joseph Beuys. He is calling on others to do the same.
Kapoor has re-created the poster for Beuys’ performance work I Like America and America Likes Me (1974). It features a photograph of Kapoor with the title I Like America and America Doesn’t Like Me written in a pseudo Antiqua–Fraktur font commonly associated with Nazi German media.
“I call on fellow artists and citizens to disseminate their name and image using Joseph Beuys’ seminal work of art as a focus for social change,” said Kapoor in a statement. ”Our silence makes us complicit with the politics of exclusion. We will not be silent.”
Donald Trump’s acts, including restricting those with origins in certain Muslim-majority countries access to the United States, since entering office just over ten days ago have sparked protests around the world as well as from within the art world.
Anish Kapoor, I Like America and America Doesn’t Like Me. Courtesy Anish Kapoor.
Beuys’ 1974 work saw him wrapped in felt upon arriving at JFK airport in New York, and transported to the René Block Gallery in an ambulance, where he spent the entirety of his three-day stay in a room with only a torch, a cane, a wild coyote, and a felt blanket. The performance is seen as a protest work, as Beuys never really saw any of the US, or technically set foot on American soil.
The British-Indian Kapoor, whose mother is Jewish, is no stranger to protest. In 2015 he completed a walk for refugees with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei across London and had a heated dispute with members of the French political class after he refused to remove anti-Semitic graffiti from his work on view at the Palace of Versailles.
by Amah-Rose Abrams