Actor-turned-performance artist launched the #Hewillnotdivideus project in New York last month
Shia LaBeouf has claimed that “the museum has abandoned us” after his proposed four-year anti-Trump art project/livestream went dead after just three weeks.
The actor-turned-performance artist launched the project last month (January 20) shortly before Donald Trump’s inauguration, describing it as “a show of resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism”. He called on the public to visit the installation, which was held at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, and utter the words “He will not divide us” over the course of Trump’s entire Presidency.
Now LaBeouf’s Twitter has posted a screenshot from the current feed, which includes white text on a black background. It reads: “The museum has abandoned us”. It is assumed that Shia is referring to the backing from the Museum of the Moving Image.
The museum has now responded in a statement published on its website. It reads: “The installation created a serious and ongoing public safety hazard for the Museum, its visitors, staff, local residents, and businesses. The installation had become a flashpoint for violence and was disrupted from its original intent.”
“While the installation began constructively, it deteriorated markedly after one of the artists was arrested on the site of the installation and ultimately necessitated this action. Over the course of the installation, there have been dozens of threats of violence and numerous arrests, such that police felt compelled to be stationed outside the installation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
“We are proud to have launched this engaging and thought-provoking digital art installation which was experienced by millions of online viewers worldwide. Until public safety concerns overrode the intent of the installation, HEWILLNOTDIVIDE.US generated an important conversation allowing interaction among people from many backgrounds and with different viewpoints. However, ending our engagement with the installation is the most prudent path forward to restore public safety to the Museum, its visitors, staff, and the community.”
See Shia’s tweet below:
Last month, LaBeouf was arrested and charged over an alleged assault of a man at the installation.
LaBeouf describes the project on its website as follows: “Commencing at 9am on January 20, 2017, the day of the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, the public is invited to deliver the words “HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US” into a camera mounted on a wall outside the Museum of the Moving Image, New York, repeating the phrase as many times, and for as long as they wish.”
“Open to all, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the participatory performance will be live-streamed continuously for four years, or the duration of the presidency. In this way, the mantra “HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US” acts as a show of resistance or insistence, opposition or optimism, guided by the spirit of each individual participation.”