Protesting Rape Culture at the Bowery Mural Wall Yesterday [PHOTOS]
Father’s Day yesterday, during the late evening hours, more than a dozen activists sidled up to the recently whitewashed Bowery mural wall to protest previous artist, David Choe. Protestors organized to make a visual statement condemning Goldman Properties (property owner and curator) for alleged endorsement of “predatory rape culture by commissioning the work of a popular artist and media personality who has openly and publicly admitted to participating in ‘rapey behavior’ and questionable activities akin to sexual harassment.”
The so-called “No Means No” protest was organized by curator Jasmine Wahi, co-owner and director of the Gateway Project Spaces. One tipster sent the following dispatch:
About 17 performer activists lined up across the mural wall with “No Means No” and “Resist” spelled out on their t-shirts. Crowds watched from the median on Houston and the sidewalks, passersby stopped to watch and take pictures, a film crew was present. The demonstrators with “Resist” on their shirts later poured red liquid over their heads and bodies.
The controversial David Choe mural at the Bowery wall was completely erased over the weekend. It happened just as Goldman Properties began facing mounting pressure from the community over commissioning artwork by a man who bragged about an alleged sexual assault in 2014.
Ever since Choe painted the mural at the Bowery wall earlier this month, he’s been under scrutiny. The artwork had been vandalized several times in the ensuing weeks. The Goldman firm has yet to comment on the selection, and, to be fair, it’s unclear at the moment who is responsible for this complete erasure. The mural was to be on display until October; no word yet on a replacement.
An incredibly powerful performance and protest entitled "No Means No" curated by Jasmine Wahi @browngirlcurator at the site of David Choe's Bowery Mural. Feeling honored to have witnessed these amazing artists fighting to dismantle rape culture, and fucking proud of the voices and fists raised today in the fierce NYC heat. #nomeansno #resist #nycart #artasresistance #dismantlerapeculture #jasminewahi #bowerywall
Below is the full description of the resistance happening, per Artnet:
Recently, a prominent real estate company, which has been lauded for curating and cultivating public art projects in both New York and Miami, became an active endorser of predatory rape culture by commissioning the work of a popular artist and media personality who has openly and publicly admitted to participating in ‘rapey behavior’ and questionable activities akin to sexual harassment at the very least. The artist has since claimed, in response to vehement backlash and potential legal repercussions, that he did not actually assault anyone, and merely fabricated a story intended to titillate and entertain. This type of ‘entertainment’ exemplifies the perpetuation of ‘rape culture.’
We will use the SoHo mural as our main stage for our response to rape culture. It is not in our interest to censor the work of other artists, regardless of how vile their public personas may be. It is important for us to to make it explicitly clear that our aim is not to tamper with, vandalize, or destroy anyone’s work. Rather than erase the it from our memory, we want to respond to it in such a strong way that our action will be remembered above all else. We use the mural as a catalyst for larger critique of those who actively boost rape culture, and those who condone this type of zeitgeist. As a piece meant to be consumed by the public and for the public, we will consume it—chew it and spit it out. We will use this piece as a stage to restart this conversation and this war against sexual violence, without destroying the artistic integrity of the piece.
This happening is not simply about one rape-blind company or one rape-promoting artist—it is about exposing and subsequently dismantling this constructs of patriarchal violence and rape culture.
We will reiterate the prominence of this culture—of those who hold the most powerful positions and are equally culpable in the growth of sexual violence and rape culture. Rape Culture has become OUR global culture. And we will not stand for it. NO MEANS NO.