A group over 30 artists have asked to have their work removed from the Design Museum’s current Hope to Nope exhibition after it was was alleged an arms industry event took place on-site.
Running till the 12th of August, Hope to Nope aims to explore “how graphic design and technology have played a pivotal role in dictating and reacting to the major political moments of our times.”
The signatories, who have all contributed work to the exhibition in question or have work in the permanent collection or on sale in the shop, have requested that the Design Museum removes their work from the show by the 1st of August. In addition to the removal of work, the letter asks for the institution to consider, “a publicly-available ethical funding policy that specifically refuses any funds from industries widely accepted as inappropriate partners for arts organisations, namely arms, tobacco and fossil fuel companies."
Names include Fraser Muggeridge, Danny Chivers from activist theatre troupe BP or not BP?, and it’s claimed that the artists only learned about the event as it happened to coincide with a talk at the museum on the role of design in the rise of Jeremy Corbyn.
The letter states that, “We refuse to allow our art to be used in this way. Particularly jarring is the fact that one of the objects on display (the BP logo Shakespeare ruff from BP or not BP?) is explicitly challenging the unethical funding of art and culture. Meanwhile, many of the protest images featured in the exhibition show people resisting the very same repressive regimes who are being armed by companies involved in the Farnborough arms fair. It even features art from protests which were repressed using UK-made weapons.”
Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade – who have published the letter – tells It’s Nice That that he believes the artists involved are “serious in their ultimatum,” as they feel the museum’s hosting of the event is “totally out of step with the values their work stands for.”
The letter in full can be read here.