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SVA’s David Ross to Artists: Please Disturb Trump

As written about previously, MFA Art Practice will sponsor the multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted exhibition-event PLEASE DISTURB, organized by department chair David A. Ross, for one day only on Friday, February 17. Taking over a suite at the Midtown Hilton, the intervention is part-art show, part-performance and broadcast event, all aimed at asserting the role artists must play in denying the new political situation as the new normal. The bulk of the afternoon will be devoted to a series of conversations between Ross and an impressive lineup of art world denizens, hosted as a talk show. The discussions, as well as the evening reception to follow, will be broadcast via Facebook Live ( facebook.com/svaartpractice), a move to democratize the event’s distribution and reception. Below, Ross discusses PLEASE DISTURB as well as the motives behind and hopes for disruptive actions like it.

What was the impetus for PLEASE DISTURB, particularly as a one-night only, part-dialogue part-exhibition live-action affair?

Like many in the art world and within SVA, we are trying to find ways to speak truth to power, and to encourage fearlessness within our community. This is a troubling and dangerous moment and as such, it seems imperative that we use all opportunities to engage in a critically important contest of ideas and values.

Tell me a little about your guests—what kind of voices will you be in conversation with?

We have invited artists from within the MFA Art Practice community (current and former participants, faculty and visiting artists) to take part in the PLEASE DISTURB exhibition and Facebook Live talk show. Because the event falls on the day of a planned general strike [against Trump], we are even more concerned that the exhibition/event serve as a space for conversation and activism.

How will the installed artworks respond to or address the day's concerns and will they be discussed as well?

The works installed in the hotel room will respond to the idea of “disturbance,” and I imagine that some of them will be the subject of conversation, though those invited to talk will be free to discuss whatever they want to talk about.

Who are you hoping to reach and why was is it important to be able to actually broadcast—widely—the event?

As I noted above, we want to serve as a site for the contest of values and ideas on a day that in which people across the U.S. and around the world make it very clear that these are not normal times. That, in fact, this is a very dangerous moment. That is why we want to turn the hotel room notion of “do not disturb” and turn it on its head. And that is why we want to reach well beyond the comfort of a professional association meeting (the CAA) and the art world, and make our conversation available to anyone who cares to tune in.

The event’s program is as follows:

12:00pm – 5:00pm: PLEASE DISTURB LIVE with David A. Ross

12:00pm: Alexandra Hammond and Quinn Dukes; 1:30pm: Chrissie Iles and Mike Pepi; 2:00pm: Lalita Salander, Mohammad Golabi and Mohammad Hosein Asgari; 3:00pm: Lia Gangitano and Baseera Khan; 3:30pm: Thyrza Goodeve and Caroline Woolard; 4:00pm: Anne Pasternak and Marilyn Minter; 4:30pm: Tim Rollins and Angel Abreu; 7:00pm – 9:00pm: Reception, refreshments provided.

For more information about PLEASE DISTURB, click here.

Related article: PLEASE DISTURB: Renegade Art in the Face of Trump

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