Many of the artists plan to attend the removal of their work by the museum this week.
Over one-third of artists featured in the London Design Museum’s activist-oriented Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008–18 have joined to form the group “Nope to Arms” to demand their work be removed from the exhibition. The action follows recent controversy surrounding the museum hosting the Farnborough Airshow, a private event organized by arms-trading company Leonardo. Artists and supporters claim the public was not privy to the existence of this event.
The Museum describes the exhibition as exploring, “how graphic design and technology have played a pivotal role in dictating and reacting to the major political moments of our times.” Finding their artistic ethos in opposition to the Museum’s relationship with Leonardo, a group of featured artists released a statement on July 25, requesting their works be withdrawn from the exhibition, set to close August 12. Initially, 30 artists and Design Museum contributors signed the statement, calling on the museum to financially and ideologically divest from the international weapons industry. The artists requested their work be removed from the gallery by August 1 and urged the museum — and others like it — to reconsider their economic relationship with companies dealing in arms, fossil fuels, and tobacco.
The number of opposing Design Museum contributors has grown to 40 since the initial release of the statement.