a group exhibition & auction to benefit the Black Lives Matter cause
July 26, 2020 — August 15, 2020
Charles Kelman (Fear Safe)
Benjamin Asam Kellogg
Yong Soon Min
Erin Jane Nelson (Enchanted Life Goods)
Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo)
On June 6th, 2020 over half a million people in 550 places across America gathered in the midst of a pandemic to protest the brutal racism plaguing America’s justice, law enforcement, and carceral systems, catalyzed by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. The Struggle for Change is about participating in and being activated by, this historic moment in the centuries-long global fight for racial justice, Black Life and Liberty. This exhibition is an exploration of art’s capacity to affect social evolution—both via the curated works which challenge the limits of visual representation to tackle oppression and the financial aid generated by the auctioning of the artwork. As artist, activist, and Black Panther Party member Emory Douglas wrote in his 1977 article Art in Service for the People, “In order to create accurate images of awareness we must participate in the changing of society and understand the political nature of art, because there is no such thing as art for art’s sake.”1 The idea of artists “participating in the changing of society” was a main consideration when curating this show. Rather than constructing an overarching narrative or a pointed message, the artwork in The Struggle for Change underscores a range of sentiments—from understanding through different experiences of lived oppression, to solidarity, outrage, frustration, fear, and hope for cultural evolution. Each piece was deliberately selected for how it evoked the particular artist’s connection to the fight for racial justice; every work differs in its expressive modality, from representational to symbolic, conceptual to poetic. The resulting exhibition illuminates the collective truth of a community, allowing it to be seen and, hopefully, inspire change.
The Struggle for Change intends to generate funds for the Black Lives Matter cause by way of an online auction at murmursartauction.com running throughout the duration of the exhibition. 100% of gallery proceeds and 70% of total sales to be donated equally between Black Lives Matter LA and the Summaeverythang Community Center in Watts which takes self-directed action to develop Black and Brown empowerment: personal, political, economic. The donation percentage was determined by the choices of the participating artists regarding the allocation of funds. The first option was a 50/50 split between the artist and gallery with 100% of gallery proceeds donated, second was 100% donation, and the third option was available to Black artists—to keep 100% of sales proceeds as a direct financial action to support racial justice. For full transparency, Murmurs will share receipts of the donations when they are made after the auction ends.
The Struggle for Change opens to the public by appointment only on Sunday July 26th until Saturday August 15th, 2020. The online auction will launch simultaneously. Anyone who cares to see the show in the gallery at Murmurs can make an appointment by emailing or DMing us on Instagram. On August 16th after the show and auction end is when the real work begins. The choice to cancel scheduled programming and reopen Murmurs after a four-month COVID hiatus with The Struggle for Change is the first step in our larger mission. The current climate of systemic racism which is inextricably linked to capitalism is untenable. When similar situations have arisen historically, revolutions soon follow, and during cultural revolutions artists and creative thinkers have a foundational role in leading the paradigm shift. We, at Murmurs, have been re-evaluating what an art space can do to be truly revolutionary, actualizing the change that we desperately want and need to see. This led to us creating a new mission statement and plan of action that concretizes Murmurs’ commitment to decolonizing and eradicating white supremacy in every aspect of what we do. We created these texts because we understand that empty words waste time—actions need to be taken. The Struggle for Change, which brings together 25 artists is an act of hope. It is a testament to the belief that, as Emory Douglas wrote, there is no such thing as art for art’s sake.