“This is A Mess”: Artists, Museums and Festivals Suffering From Muslim Ban


The New York Times’ Rachel Donadio offers us a look at the way Friday’s immigration ban, put together by the administration of a former reality TV personality with small hands — with primary input from his puppetmaster a self-styled “Darth Vader” type who allegedly hates Jews — is taking on the arts world . Leading with a story we’ve already noted here at FV, the fact that Oscar-nominated director Asghar Farhadi will not be able to attend the ceremony this month, Donadio’s piece checks in with entities from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other museums, Sundance, as well as individual artists who may not be able to attend their own shows in the coming months.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art worries that exhibitions, archaeological surveys and excavations with institutions in the Middle East will have to be canceled or curtailed. And the Sundance Institute Theater Program may have to scale back its exchange program with artists from the Middle East and North Africa. As President Trump’s executive order seeking to keep many foreigners from entering the United States sowed widespread confusion throughout the immigration system and at airports around the globe, cultural figures and institutions were calculating how the new policies would harm their art and missions.

We already knew that the former Celebrity Apprentice host didn’t care about the fine arts, but it’s crushing to see how quickly he has created both a humanitarian crisis (which is of course the foremost concern, by dar) and a stifling of creative collaboration, cross-pollination and freedom of movement. As artist Shahpour Pouyan told Donadio: “I am stuck here. I can’t leave the country and as an artist it means I can’t make shows and present my works internationally. This is such a mess.”