Last month, more than 20 artists, designers, and organizations demanded that their work be removed from “Hope to Nope,” an exhibition of protest art at the Design Museum in London. On Thursday, that number doubled when over 40 artists pulled their pieces from the show following a rally outside the institution in protest of it hosting an event for Leonardo, one of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers.
“I’m very disappointed in the poor judgment that the Design Museum in London displayed by renting their space to a company which manufactures military arms while simultaneously hosting an art show of activist images,” said Shepard Fairey, whose iconic “HOPE” poster for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was removed from the exhibition on Thursday. “I have made many pro-peace images as well as art that is critical of the arms industry, so the museum’s actions are disturbingly contrary to my values.”
The artists who removed their work on Thursday are now planning an alternative exhibition during the London Design Festival, tentatively to be titled “From Nope to Hope.” In the meantime, the Design Museum exhibition, which has shrunk by about a third, is now free to the public through its August 12 closing date (instead of the usual £12 fee for the show). In a statement, the museum added: “We believe that it is important to give political graphics a platform at the museum and it is a shame that the exhibition could not continue as it was curated until its original closing date.”