Hundreds Sign an Open Letter Against Open Letters

Albert Edelfelt’s “Lady Writing a Letter” (1887) crossed with René Magritte’s “The Treachery of Images” (1929) (via Wikimedia, edit Elaine Velie/Hyperallergic)

More than 400 artists, curators, scholars, and cultural workers signed an open letter “against open letters” published today, April 1. The missive, penned by the collective Autonomous Anonymous Activists (Triple-A) and disseminated primarily via Instagram infographic, calls on members of the culture sector to “not share widely,” pleading, “Don’t you dare sign!” These instructions were lost on nearly all 444 signatories, who failed to read the letter after clicking on the link in bio and adding their names.

One such supporter, who requested to remain anonymous despite their name being printed in the list of signatories, told Hyperallergic they were “sick of the art world majority” signing open letters before they had a chance to. “I never see them until it’s too late, but I want to be in a group with famous artists, too.”

Another signatory, a Los Angeles-based moon healer and dirt sculptor who requested to remain anonymous out of fear of “professional ramifications,” told Hyperallergic they signed and reposted the letter because they are a “staunch social justice advocate.”

In the missive, Triple-A derided past campaigns’ overly broad nature and failure to include concrete calls to action. “Global autonomous anonymous makers cannot simply sign letters to hold our institutions accountable,” the group wrote. “Instead, we call on creators to cultivate spaces where they can engage in world-building.”

One of the few signatories who read the letter told Hyperallergic they were excited about this new change-making model. When asked if they had attended a protest or engaged in in-person community organizing in the past year, they replied, “No,” but asked Hyperallergic to link to their Instagram page, where they continue to post a daily lineup of open letters.

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