Gagosian Gallery Ejects Protesters, Police Drags Out Visitor

12.27.10 Marina Galperina

There are different viewpoints on what happened on Dec. 18th at NYC’s Gagosian Gallery when a group of protesters crashed a Anselm Kiefer exhibit wearing t-shirts with the Passover prayer line “Next Year in Jerusalem” in English, Hebrew and Arabic. There were four of them left when they were asked to leave. Then, it got ugly.

Before the gallery called the cops on them, the group was silent but ready to answer any questions the visitors may have — they were sponsoring a ship in the next flotilla to sail against the Israeli blockade. Viewpoint of the protesters: “We thought we were in an arena of ideas and that words on a t-shirt without any other provocation would be an acceptable method of free expression in response to Kiefer’s work.” The viewpoint of the gallery: “This is private property… We’re here to sell art.” And so, the cops made them leave.

Gallery visitor Ingrid Homberg, who stopped to speak with the group but was not part of it, was also told to leave. She refused, so the cops ejected her, forcefully. She was dragged across the floor, handcuffed crying and shaking and was taken to the emergency room with bruising on her arm. Some might call that inappropriate use of police force. Gagosian calls it an “unfortunate disturbance.”