Actor Shia LaBeouf’s protest performance piece conceived along with London-based artists Luke Turner and Nastja Ronkko has been shut down. The Museum Museum of the Moving Image in New York which gave permission for the artwork to be realised live has pulled the plug due to a number of violent incidents which led to the arrest of Mr. LaBeouf’s arrest on 26th January.
The work created in reaction to the election of President Donald Trump became “a flashpoint for violence” with supporters of the leader confronting the artists and other members of the public attending the performance. The work of art encouraged the public to say “He will not divide us” into a camera mounted outside the Museum in New York. Mr. LaBeouf who starred in the film Transformers was arrested after a fracas at the site, which police began manning round the clock.
“The museum has abandoned us.”
The actor criticised the museum’s decision to shut down the exhibit. On Twitter, he posted an image of the live stream, which now reads: “The museum has abandoned us.”
The live stream ran for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the artists had planned to maintain it throughout Mr. Trump’s presidency.
But in the early hours of 26 January, LaBeouf was charged with assault and harassment after a confrontation with a man that was broadcast on the live stream.
The New York Daily News reported that a number of white supremacists turned up at the site over the past three weeks, including one apparently wearing a Nazi hat. In a statement, the museum said the atmosphere at the exhibit, named HEWILLNOTDIVIDE. The US, “deteriorated markedly” after LaBeouf’s arrest. There had been “dozens of threats of violence and numerous arrests” and it had become “a flashpoint for violence”, it added. “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,” the museum said.
On the exhibit’s website a statement says: “On February 10, 2017, the Museum of the Moving Image abandoned the project. The artists, however, have not.”