The Museum of Modern Art is responding to Donald Trump’s travel ban by reconfiguring its own priorities. The museum will now showcase work from Iranian, Iraqi, and Sudanese-born artists in its permanent-collection galleries — Trump’s executive order bars refugees and citizens from these countries, plus Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, all of which are majority-Muslim countries. In total, seven works by Sudanese painter Ibrahim el-Salahi, the late Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, and five Iranian-born artists are getting prominent displays, taking the places of notable pieces from the Western canon, including work by Picasso and Matisse, among others.
According to the New York Times, the global works will remain in their new, highly visible spots for several months, each accompanied by a placard that reads: “This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on January 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum, as they are to the United States.”