More than 80 artists, curators, dealers and critics have signed an open letter to voice their opposition to President Trump's travel ban, which targets refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries. The letter calls “for the immediate and total overturning” of the executive order, which the signatories say has exacerbated humanitarian crises and caused colleagues to be “profiled based on race and religion”.
The letter continues: “Should our colleagues have to leave the United States for any reason, they must not fear being denied return; nor should they have to cancel exhibitions or research because they cannot enter this country. Our field is dependent upon international collaboration and cross-cultural exchange, and these cross-border and cross-cultural collaborations benefit the general public; the ban thus affects all of us.”
The letter's signatories are based both within and outside the US. They include the artists Barbara Kruger, Joan Jonas, Danh Vo and Lawrence Weiner; museum curators and directors Massimiliano Gioni, Joanne Heyler, Nancy Spector and Beatrix Ruf; and the gallerists Marian Goodman, Chantal Crousel, Carol Greene and Gavin Brown. The letter has been posted publicly online and is accepting additional signatures.
Although the ban is currently suspended, the Trump Administration is fighting to restore it. Lawyers from the Justice Department and Washington state faced off in front of three federal judges on Wednesday. An appeals court is considering whether to reinstate the ban after a judge in Seattle put it on hold nationwide on Friday. The legal battle is expected to end up in front of the Supreme Court.