In the Air
Art News & Gossip

In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Museum Press Release Pranksters Go After Crystal Bridges Over Walmart Labor Practices

Pin It

Back at the time of the opening of the Whitney Museum’s 2012 Biennial, a shadowy group of hacktivists created a fake website where they posted press releases satirizing the institution’s acceptance of corporate sponsorship from Deutsche Bank and Sotheby’s, especially while the latter continued to lock out its art handlers in a protracted labor dispute. The same group struck again this week, it seems, when they published a very convincing fake version of the Crystal Bridges Museum website, where a press release informs readers that Walmart heiress Alice Walton’s Arkansas institution will close on Black Friday (November 23) in observance of anti-consumerist protests, walkouts, and strikes at the big box chain.

“Since Black Friday is the unofficial start of the Christmas season, and this is the season of giving, I and the staff of Crystal Bridges have decided to stand with the workers of Walmart, the source of my family’s fortune, in their Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets,” the fake press release quotes Walton as saying. “I recognize this may come as a surprise to both Walmart workers and the American public. I have always assumed these hard-working men and women were being treated well, paid well, and being compensated with proper health benefits and vacation time. On this holiday, I give thanks for the fortune I inherited and for all the workers who earned it for me.”

Read the entire release below:

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to Close on Black Friday; Statement from Alice Walton, Chair of The Board of Directors
November 20, 2012

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to Close on Black Friday; Statement from Alice Walton, Chair of The Board of Directors

11-20-2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BENTONVILLE, AR- The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will close on Friday, November 23, out of respect for the Walmart workers engaging in Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. Alice Walton, Chair of the Board of Directors, also asks all Americans to stay home with their family rather than shop on Thanksgiving, so that Walmart workers do not have to report to work in the middle their Thanksgiving meals on this national holiday. The Museum will reopen on Saturday, November 24.

As Ms. Walton explained, “Since Black Friday is the unofficial start of the Christmas season, and this is the season of giving, I and the staff of Crystal Bridges have decided to stand with the workers of Walmart, the source of my family’s fortune, in their Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. I recognize this may come as a surprise to both Walmart workers and the American public. I have always assumed these hard-working men and women were being treated well, paid well, and being compensated with proper health benefits and vacation time. On this holiday, I give thanks for the fortune I inherited and for all the workers who earned it for me. They deserve to share its benefits. I was shocked to the point of disbelief when I first learned of the working conditions these decent Americans endure at the company that bears our family’s name. As a Walton, I cannot stomach the thought of our employees working for poverty wages, without sufficient healthcare, on a permanent part-time basis, or under threat of harassment, retaliation, or termination for organizing in their workplace. The workers of Walmart deserve better.”

“However, Walmart’s hostile battle against its own workers and their attempts to organize their workplace, improve working conditions, and earn a living wage, is not the only reason to stay home on Thanksgiving and on Black Friday. In the race to profit from cash-strapped deal-seekers desperate to save a buck, Walmart is now asking its employees to report to work in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday in order to open stores that evening. This poor treatment of workers and crass commercialization of the holiday stamps ‘Black Friday’ with a whole new meaning: the black mark of shame.”

“Let us all stand in solidarity with these decent working Americans. Let us respect their struggle and their strike and not shop at Walmart on Black Friday, let alone on Thanksgiving day. In fact, let us not shop anywhere this holiday. I wish the entire nation a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.”

“Truth Crushed to Earth Will Rise Again,”
New Temporary Exhibition Honoring Labor

In honor of the 1.3 million workers of Walmart and especially all those who earn the minimum wage, the Museum also announces a special temporary exhibition on labor in American art. Drawn from the collection, the exhibition centers on Winslow Homer’s The Return of the Gleaner (1867). Gleaners were the poor, most often women, who were permitted to pick through a farmer’s field after it had been harvested, in search of leftover grain. Homer’s painting ennobles this stooped, back-breaking labor and his stirring tribute to the survival of the American spirit is echoed in other works by George Wesley Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Ralston Crawford, Francis Criss, Eastman Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Ben Shahn, Charles Sheeler, and Everett Shin. The exhibition, titled “Truth Crushed to Earth Will Rise Again,” will be on view November 24, 2012 – January 28, 2013.

About Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges is a nonprofit organization focused solely on creating a world-class museum for the benefit of the public. Opened in 2011, Crystal Bridges was founded by billionaire heiress Alice Walton, who chairs the Museum’s board of directors. Because of its commitment to the educational and cultural development of Northwest Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation has provided significant funding to help make the dream of Crystal Bridges a reality. In July 2011, Walmart announced a grant that will sponsor general public admission to the Museum.

The building was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie and is situated on 120 wooded acres in Bentonville, Arkansas. Crystal Bridges’ growing collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from the Colonial era to the current day. The permanent collection is enhanced by an array of temporary exhibitions. Additional information about the museum is available online at crystalbridgesfoundation.org

# # #

The real Crystal Bridges Museum site, for the sake of comparison, is here. The museum will be open on Friday.

— Benjamin Sutton

Tags: , , ,

Pin It

Add a Comment