Are You Ready to Join the Inauguration Day J20 Art Strike? This is your opportunity to show them what for, by not doing things!

Trump - Clarke Condé - Pyragraph

Image by Clarke Condé.

If you don’t know about the art strike, here’s the scoop: Various Blue Chip Artists—that’s right, you heard me: Blue Chip Artists, including Cindy Sherman, Richard Serra and Louise Lawler—have called for an artist’s strike on Inauguration Day. They have christened it the J20 Art Strike, because “J20” sounds more Nine-Eleveny than “January twentieth” I guess. Museums and galleries, art schools and concert halls are urged to shut down in order to show their solidarity against the normalization of President Trump. The New York Times is on the story.

The reaction has been mixed. Most major institutions are saying, nu-uh. But that shouldn’t stop you from throwing in with them, because there are few better ways to express your disdain for our new Commander in Chief than to stop arting. An uncertain number of people who might otherwise buy and enjoy art are given a chance, instead, to contemplate, yet again, the misery of our state of the union. And what better way for these Blue Chip Artists to remind us of their relevance? Yesterday you might not have cared, but today you’ll think, oh yeah, that guy. You might even decide to Google them.  

Nothing will compromise your integrity on J20.

But just because you stopped caring doesn’t mean you should underestimate them. I want you to step back and take in the full importance of their Blue-Chipness. These artists don’t just make art, but produce market-proof commodities. Why depend on the constant fluctuations of gold and pork bellies when instead you can buy a solid investment like an original Richard Serra or a sort of original Cindy Sherman print? Isn’t that guy Richard Serra in his 80s? At any moment he could drop dead and you’re a Christie’s auction away from some serious coin. What better way to protest a cabinet full of ex-Goldman Sachs execs than to deny them the opportunity to buy art for 24 hours or so? Think of the outrage.

But remember, you don’t have to be a Blue Chip Artist to participate. Oh no. You can go on strike in the privacy of your home studio or basement. You can maybe even Tweet about it. If someone wants to see your art, or—oh special day—buy it, you can let them know that you’re on strike. No, sir or madam. You’re keeping your art under wraps. You will not sell your art for the usual 50 cents an hour rate, not today. Tomorrow, sure. But nothing will compromise your integrity on J20. This is no time to slack off. Don’t waste another misspent J20 painting or composing or dancing or doing that performance piece you were thinking about, naked with a kazoo. This is your opportunity to show them what for by not doing things!

And this crippling loss of a day of art will most certainly inspire our legislators to pour more tax dollars into the once rapidly shrinking NEA. Sure, Sylvester Stallone turned down Trump’s offer to become head of the organization. Sure, the Rockettes’ boycott is getting more press—but what’s a few Rockettes compared to a coalition of Blue Chip Artists plus others?

So remember, J20. That J20 that will go down in history with a resounding roar of who gives a fuck.    

Jed Alexander

About Jed Alexander

Jed Alexander grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania where he first discovered his love of books at his local public library. Jed went on to earn his degree in illustration at San Jose State University where he studied under veteran illustrators Barron Storey and John Clapp.

After working for more than ten years in the editorial field for such publications as LA WeeklyThe Sacramento News and Review, and The Santa Cruz Metro, Jed returned to his first love: Children’s literature. He has since done work for Nickelodeon and Cricket Magazine. He is currently represented by Abigail Samoun at Red Fox Literary. His first self-published book (Mostly) Wordless was financed by a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.

He lives in Davis, California with his wife Regina, his best friend and favorite person in the world.

Leave a Reply