As part of the show entitled “War (What is it Good For?)” from January 18th to May 18th at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Artist Emergency Response (AER) arts collective will present the first version of its ongoing Video Petition Project. An hour and a half long, this video documents the first 200 petitioners who gave face and voice to the growing number of North Americans who oppose the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The AER Video Petition Project is a visual testimony of North Americans voicing their opposition to the Israeli occupation and who seek a just solution to the Palestinian refugee crisis and an equitable and lasting peace. These voices are underrepresented by the mainstream North American media, despite their large and growing numbers. They are comprised of Jews and non-Jews alike whose thoughtful, eloquent, and sincere statements cannot be dismissed as self-loathing or anti-Semitic simply due to their criticism of the Israeli government and its policies.
The exhibition as a whole, curated by Michael Rooks, draws primarily from works in the MCA Collection and focuses on artistsï¿½ critical responses to war, its threat, and the politics that provoke it. AERï¿½s Video Petition Project is one of a small number of works that was borrowed in order to supplement the museumï¿½s collection. AER is very proud to be included in a show with a wide range of artists from the Post-war Era, from H.C. Westermann and Peter Saul to Leon Golub and Alfredo Jaar, and from Barbara Kruger to Andy Warhol.
In addition to having the Video Petition Project play continuously throughout the exhibition, there will be a number of opportunities for AER to videotape additional petition statements by museum-goers. The project of collecting statements will continue until we reach the goal of having a petition with 1000 voices on it or until the Occupation has ended.
The MCA show provides an exciting opportunity for AER to present to a broad audience some of the voices and faces who are against the Israeli Occupation. AER hopes that this will be the first of many exhibitions that will help to raise the profile of those who oppose the Israeli Occupation and to call attention to this important and urgent issue.