Jan 18, 2017: It is with great disappointment that we post this news of the denial of Leonard Peltier's clemency request. Read more.
Jan 17, 2017: The International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM), an affiliate the International Council of Museums (ICOM) - an organization representing over 20,000 museums worldwide - issued a letter of complaint to the President of American University calling for the statue to be reinstated.
Jan 2, 2017: Letter from Statue Project to supporters:
Welcome to 2017. Wish we were writing with brighter news but the reality is we are entering UnPresidented territory when it comes to co-existing with ignorance and bigotry in the USA. Granted that has been here for a very long time only now it feels vindicated at the highest levels. Including the now very orange visible tip of the Iceberg.
Since our last communication, the Peltier Statue made an epic journey from California to Washington D.C. and was successfully installed at the American University Campus. It was dedicated on December 9, with Leonard Peltier's eldest son present, Chauncey Peltier, as well as Len Foster - Peltier's spiritual advisor - and Robert King a former prisoner himself, now the recipient of an honorary doctorate's degree in law and a global champion against the systemic racism festering in the US Justice system.
The Statue was to be exhibited through April 30th, as per the agreement between the Katzen Arts Center and the artist.
On December 29, the director of the Katzen Arts Center suddenly writes a hasty and vague email to Rigo, informing him the university had received "credible threats to the statue and surrounding buildings" and must remove the statue. No other information was given. No call was made to Rigo.
On January 1, the University issued a public statement indicating the statue would be removed on January 3rd. The exact wording follows at the end of this email. Contrary to what is stated about helping the artist find an alternative location for exhibition, the University has offered only to move the statue to a D.C.-based address, if we have one.
Not only is this a breach of the museum-artist contract, it is also an act of censorship and a bending to the bullies - not to mention a total desertion of American University's mission to defend and protect culture. We later found out that the FBI Agents Association, a volunteer-based NGO representing rank and file members, wrote a letter to the University on Dec 29, asking for the statue's removal.
Would you please speak up with us, as a statement against censorship? We're contacting the media and also getting legal counsel. But with only 17 days left for Obama to grant the Clemency request, it's paramount to make Peltier visible in all ways possible.
We're asking supporters to call the Office of the President of American University on Tuesday, Jan 3. We're trying to flood his office with voices of support for the statue to remain in place, in accordance with the exhibition agreement. We're unsure when the statue will be taken down-it's possible it could be as early as Tuesday. Thank you for acting fast.
Neil Kerwin, President, American University
Office of the President
This story came out on the local news tonight: link
We'll keep you posted with any further developments.
Peace, and thank you,
Leonard Peltier Statue Project
Jan 1, 2017: Letter issued by American University
American University strongly supports the mission of museums to present thought-provoking art to inform and educate. Within the AU Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, we have hosted numerous exhibits of political and sometimes controversial art.
The decision to host the Peltier statue required a more thorough assessment of the implications of placing the piece in a prominent, public space outside the museum. With the benefit of a fuller review, we have made a decision to remove the piece from this location.
The subject matter and placement of the piece improperly suggested that American University has assumed an advocacy position of clemency for Mr. Peltier, when no such institutional position has been taken. Further, the nature and location of the piece called into question our ability to honor our responsibilities to ensure the security of the art and the safety of our community.
The AU Museum has offered to work with the artist to find an alternative organization that would be willing to exhibit the art.
We affirm our commitment to the AU Museum and will ensure that its mission is fully supported in the Katzen Arts Center.
VIDEO OF ARTIST RIGO 23 INSTALLING STATUE AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
INTERVIEW FROM DEMOCRACY NOW WITH ARTIST RIGO 23