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Marker
July 17, 2020

It has been brought to the attention of AITF that Jon Rafman, an artist whose work was part of the show BURiED iN THE SNOW in UBOI in December 2019, has been called out for predatory behavior and emotional and sexual abuse. We feel that we, along with other galleries and institutions that have exhibited Rafman’s work, have a responsibility to shed light on his behavior and speak out against his abuses. The organizer, Rocki Swiderski, and the curator, N. Hitchcock, who were part of facilitating this exhibition, have made the decision to have Rafman’s name and documentation of his work removed from the show on our website and instagram profile. We apologize to survivors of abuse and the larger art community for the harm it caused to have him included in this space’s program.

AITF also apologizes for not exercising holistic diligence in supporting survivors within our space, and for not being more vocal in taking a firm stand against abuse and predation within the art world before this revelation. We recognize that it should not be the labor of survivors to bring these abuses to widespread attention, and that these concerns should have been with us to begin with. All of us are obligated to examine our own relationships with fellow curators, artists, and professional contacts, in order to eradicate the pervasive cycles of abuse in the art world.

We extend our gratitude to the survivor who had the courage to publicly share her story, and deeply regret that we participated in a culture that necessitates additional vulnerability on the part of survivors in order to be heard.

The “art genius” is not excused from their actions, no matter their level of notoriety or praise. It is sickening to revisit Rafman’s work with the context of his behavior in mind. It is sickening to imagine how long this behavior has been left unchecked and how many have been harmed in the process of this complicity.

We call on other art galleries and institutions who have exhibited or acquired Rafman’s work to recognize your power, and that it is within your power to side with survivors. We urge you to speak out against his abuse, and hold him accountable for the harm he inflicts. We call on you to deaccession his artworks from your material collections. We call on you to remove posts from your online platforms which celebrate him, and name yourselves as having made mistakes you are committed to repairing. We call on you to erase abusers from institutional memory.



BURiED iN THE SNOW


J.A DEATON
MAX GUY
BROOK HSU
BEN MEDANSKY
SYDNEY SHEN
NOBUO UEMATSU


AT


UNDERGROUND BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS
15 DECEMBER – 16 FEBRUARY 2019

Organized by N. Hitchcock


For press release, biographical information, and to read a contextual essay on Nobuo Uematsu, click here.