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The Zabludowicz Art Collection in London. Photo: Reading Tom/Flickr.
The Zabludowicz Art Collection in London. Photo: Reading Tom/Flickr.

24 Artists Sever Ties with Zabludowicz Collection over Pro-Israel Connection

Twenty-four artists and art workers have announced that they are disaffiliating from London’s Zabludowicz Collection, citing the contemporary art museum’s connections to the Israeli military. On July 26, the twenty-four, all of whom have either exhibited at or collaborated with the institution, sent letters to the Zabludowicz Collection and to its affiliates, including Daata Editions, Daata Fair, and Times Square Space, detailing their plan to “deauthor” all “conceptual content” they had created for the collection. This was limned as including not just artworks but screenings, talks, workshops, curatorial initiatives, and commissions.

The letters, which were individually signed, were copies of a boilerplate text authored by the organization Boycott/Divest Zabludowicz (BDZ). Established in 2014 by a group of arts workers, BDZ has consistently called for the boycott of the Zabludowicz Art Trust, of which the collection is a subsidiary, over what they characterize as the trust’s continued complicity in the ongoing colonization and occupation of Palestine, and of apartheid policies against Palestinians. In May, BDZ published a statement denouncing Israel’s then-recent attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem as well as the continued illegal expulsions of Palestinian people from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, and calling on cultural workers to join them. The group additionally decried the Israeli airstrikes that have to date killed more than 250 Palestinians, including at least sixty-five children. 

According to BDZ, the artists cutting ties with the collection are Sam Cottington, Benedict Drew, Cécile B. Evans, Jacob Farrell, Gery Georgieva, Michelle Williams Gamaker, Anton Haugen, Stewart Home, Item Idem, Jasmine Johnson, Kelly Large, Scott Mason, Harold Offeh, Uriel Orlow, Hardeep Pandhal, Amalia Pica, Rachel Pimm, Aura Satz, Jack Strange, Abri de Swardt, Ellen Mara de Wachter, Richard Whitby, Laura Yuile, and Gary Zhexi Zhang.

At the time of BDZ’s May call to action, Anita and Chaim (Poju) Zabludowicz, the art trust’s cofounders, issued a statement condemning violence between Hamas and Israel and coming out strongly in support of a two-state solution. According to Artnet News, the pair are standing by that statement, while BDZ say that “the call to divest is directed at the institution and its complicit activity, but not the individual,” affirming that its efforts are not aimed at the Zabludowicz family, in accordance with the rules of the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.