The Travel Ban Exhibit
Many of our greatest “American” artists were, in fact, naturalized Americans born abroad. Some, like Mark Rothko and Louise Nevelson, came as children and were trained in the United States. Others, like Hans Hoffman, Willem de Kooning and David Hockney, came as adults, seeing refuge or creative freedom in the United States.
All made major contributions to our “American” culture, as do many foreign-born visual artists today.
We have no way of knowing how many great artists who might have contributed to our culture perished in Europe during World War II because our Govrenment refused to let them enter the United States due to their religion or country of origin.
And if the Trump Administration’s Travel Ban takes effect—denying entry to allMuslims, or all Muslims from certain countries in the “watered down” version—we’ll never know what they might have contributed to our culture, either.
Nor will we ever know how many great artists, from countries whose citizens are not categorically banned, will decide not to immigrate to the United States because they find Trump’s policies repugnant. Or because they feel they’ll always be second-class citizens in an America where only the bigoted, willfully ignorant and/or the 1 percent ever go first.