Majority Leader Van Bramer’s Statement on the He Will Not Divide Us Exhibit
Majority Leader Van Bramer released the following statement regarding the He Will Not Divide Us exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image:
“As the Councilmember who represents the Museum of the Moving Image, and as the chair of the Cultural Affairs & Libraries Committee of the New York City Council, I support the museum's decision to close the "He Will Not Divide Us" installation.
Over the past three weeks, I have personally observed what I believe to be public safety threats and significant issues relating to public nuisance at the installation itself and on the live feed. And I have heard from constituents, who live mere yards from the exhibit, that they felt unsafe as a result. This was an unacceptable, if unintended, outcome of this installation.
I have also met with the 114th precinct, which has reported dozens of threats as well as some arrests at the installation. Community Board 1 also received calls and concerns about public safety. The fact that the 114th precinct felt it needed to guard the installation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to keep people safe, tells you all you need to know about what was happening there.
Needless to say, I was also shocked and outraged by the hateful symbols and rhetoric used by far too many at the exhibit. I witnessed racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism and unabashedly pro-Nazi symbols and remarks on this live feed. I'm proud to have led a rally at the site to denounce such hatred.
Dissent, and dissenting voices, are always welcome at cultural institutions. But while I am a great supporter of culture in New York City, and believe strongly in the Museum of the Moving Image's decision to take on challenging works, including this one, it is clear that this installation became a public nuisance and a public safety hazard. That could not continue.”
Please find a link to the museum’s statement here: http://www.movingimage.us/exhibitions/2017/01/20/detail/hewillnotdivide-us/