Flush the Walls!!

While reading arts blog the Exhibitionist, I came across a post about bathroom art ‘taking over’ the MFA.  The post was dated June 2011. Apparently at that time, “The bathrooms bordering the new Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts have been taken over by a group of artists looking to commemorate the anniversary of “Flush the Walls,” a protest-exhibit held exactly 40 years ago tonight.” (Exhibitionist blog) The protest was to urge the MFA to appreciate local artists more.  It is interesting that the protest used the bathrooms as an exhibit space for their work.  This could be seen as a comment that the MFA treats local artists like crap.  Literally.  They are only fit to be shown in the bathroom.  Or is can be seen as anti-elitism.  Why must we have a fancy space to display work? Long live Geurilla art! I enjoy their embracing of their display space in the title of the protest that they were commemorating, “Flush the walls.”  Flush can mean ‘get rid of’, or ‘put all over’, it’s all in how we see it.  Soon after this anniversary protest, the MFA re-instated their Maud Morgan prize, which celebrates local artists by giving the winner $10,000 and featuring them in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.  Wendy Jacobson was this year’s winner.  I find it inspiring that just a month after these creative protests, the museum once again began to acknowledge local artists.  Art can make a difference!  Especially in the world of art.  It is interesting to me that they used art to protest lack of acknowledgement in art.  They used art in conversation with art.  This makes me excited!  They created change through a peaceful, artistic, creative protest.  When I think about it, this trend of using art to dialogue with art and art institutions has been around for a long time.  I think of Mabou Mines’ A Doll’s House.  How is this in conversation with Ibsen’s work?  Is it protesting it in some way?  Or simply adapting it for a modern audience?  Whatever the intention, it does undermine what we think of as traditional or normative theatre.  Every new movement has come out of protesting what came before it by creating a new movement.  I am excited to figure out how to use art to directly create change as these artists have done!

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