An east London gallery has come under fire for the controversial nature of a recent exhibition and series of talks which focused on themes common to the alt right political movement. LD50, a gallery and project space in Dalston run by Lucia Diego, held a ‘neoreaction conference’ in the summer that featured talks by speakers including Peter Brimelow, Brett Stevens and Iben Thranholm among others. Let’s break this down a little bit:
Peter Brimelow is described by legal advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘a leading anti-immigration activist and author’ and ‘the president of the VDARE Foundation, a nonprofit that warns against the polluting of America by non-whites, Catholics, and Spanish-speaking immigrants.’
Brett Stevens is an ‘American paleoconservative writer’ who edits this far-right website http://www.amerika.org/ and has previously praised racist mass murderer Anders Breivik. The website’s manifesto includes a call to ‘repatriate the non-indigenous’. Seeing as that’s written by a white man in America, we can all look forward to Brett Stevens emigrating right back to his indigenous European roots sometime soon.
Iben Thranholm is a Danish journalist who rails against immigration, and says that European men are too feminine and can’t defend their women from ‘rapefugees’.
Following that delightful sounding series of talks, LD50 hosted an exhibition of alt right art, full of Pepe memes and a cardboard cut out of Donald Trump. The show closed a few weeks ago, but it seems to have taken until now for there to be any vocal reaction. A Tumblr called Shut Down LD50 Gallery published its first post on February 19, calling for the gallery to be closed because it pushes a ‘neo-Nazi’ agenda. The organisers are also looking for people to join them in leafleting against the gallery on February 25 at 11am. Artist Sophie Jung posted private messages she received from gallery director Lucia Diego, in which the latter states her support for America’s muslim ban and expresses her sympathy for Trump. Alongside this, there has been an explosion of social media posting on the matter, and a flurry of critical articles. Many artists who have previously shown at the gallery – before it took this turn towards the far right – have been quick to denounce these latest moves.
At the time of publishing, the gallery was preparing a statement which we'll include when we receive, but in the meantime has been dealing with the situation by posting all the criticism they’ve received onto their website… which confuses matters a bit. It forces you to ask: why has this happened? Is this a stunt? A ploy to garner widespread media attention? An attempt to troll the art left?
Or is Lucia Diego an actual, genuine art world unicorn: an alt right Trump-supporter, using her cultural platform to push her anti-liberal agenda?
Attention-seeking trolls or right wing provocateurs? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯