Inauguration Day, scheduled for January 20 in Washington, DC, draws ever closer. While some in the art world are calling for a strike in protest of Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the land’s highest office, New York’s Outsider Art Fair is marking the occasion by celebrating his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
The fair, which features the work of self-taught artists, will host a series of readings drawn from Obama’s speeches and interviews. Anyone is welcome participate in the performance, dubbed “The Barack Obama Readings.”
“We felt that as a leading cultural event, we had to acknowledge how surreal and odd this has all been. Celebrating President Obama as a phenomenal leader by using only his words seemed like a proactive, positive, and even patriotic note to hit,” Outsider Art Fair CEO Andrew Edlin told Hyperallergic. ‘The Barack Obama Readings’ will give people an outlet to express themselves, sort of like in an old-style, public square kind of way.”
Participants in the readings will each be assigned a time slot, and will receive free admission to the fair for the day. (Tickets normally cost $20.)
In anticipation of the event, the fair has compiled a list of 56 quotes, from the inspiring (“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”) to the humorous (“I do really well with the zero to eight demographic…partly because my ears are big, so I look like a cartoon character. And also because little kids love saying my name, as if it was one word: barackobama.”).
Interested parties are also welcome to submit their own favorite utterances from Obama to read at the fair.
“Barack Obama set an example for our country and the world: one of intelligence, class, humor, empathy, humanity, open-mindedness and love,” said Edlin in a statement. “The Outsider Art Fair is proud to take this moment to acknowledge with deep gratitude President Barack Obama, his family, and their contribution to our country.”
“The Barack Obama Readings” will be held at the Outsider Art Fair (January 19–22, 2017) at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, Chelsea, New York, from 3 p.m.–5 p.m., January 20, 21, and 22.
Follow artnet News on Facebook.