Today at 4 PM NYC time, people will come together for a pop-up de-occupation of Urban Plaza, the privately owned public space (POPS) directly across the street from the Museum of Modern Art. This gathering will launch Post-MoMA Futures: Ten Weeks of Art, Action, and Conversation, a movement initiative grounded in Strike MoMa: Terms and Frameworks for Struggle. This document was generated by the Strike MoMa Working Group of the International Imagination of Anti-National, Anti-Imperialist Feelings (IIAAF) and was released on March 23rd. It was developed in conversation with dozens of political groups, friends, and comrades over the past two months, and builds on a first round of statements and calls to action released in early February by MoMA Divest, Guerilla Girls, and others in response to the crisis surrounding Leon Black, the hedge fund billionaire and Jeffery Epstein associate who is also the chair of the board of MoMa.
Rather than demand that the museum get rid of Black or even reform the structure of its board, both easily recuperable asks, Strike MoMa instead declares that “the museum itself is the problem,” and offers operational terms defined outside the definitions and legitimacy of the institution. The terms are shared forms for creating the conditions of a “just transition to a post-MoMa future,” allowing for the emergence of “something controlled by workers, communities, and artists, rather than the billionaires like Leon Black and Larry Fink.”
On March 26th, news leaked that Leon Black would not seek reelection as president when his term expires in July, though he will remain on the board. While direct causal links between calls to action and reconstitutions of power should not be automatically assumed, this move by the museum signals that the institution is afraid of the collective declaration of a decolonial transition issued by Strike MoMa and its affiliated groups.
As we read in the statement of intent released today in advance of the de-occupation, "Post-MoMa futures are already being enacted in the spaces we hold, the relations that we build, the actions we take, with a diversity of tactics and aesthetics. We are creating movement-generated art, media, and education within an emerging infrastructure."
Over the course of these next ten weeks, the Verso blog will become a node in this relational and intellectual infrastructure, weaving together actions on site with an ongoing platform for writing, thinking, and imagining in furtherance of post-Moma futures. Watch this space.