Grabbing Them By The Cojones – PHOTO ESSAY –
June 11, 2018 – ON A RECENT April morning, the artist Nan Goldin and around 100 protesters entered the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on the south side of the National Mall in Washington. The Sackler Gallery is a squat, geometric building that unspools into a subterranean museum beneath one of the Smithsonian’s public gardens. Its founding collection of some 1,000 works of Near Eastern, Asian, and Southeast Asian art was donated along with $4 million in 1982 by a physician, Arthur M. Sackler, whose name is carved on the building’s exterior gray granite walls. Goldin and the group marched past an exhibition called “Encountering the Buddha” and positioned themselves along the atrium’s staircase and around a shallow fountain that sits at the bottom of the building. A lacquer wood sculpture called “Monkeys Grasping the Moon” by the Chinese artist Xu Bing dangled above, 72 feet long. The few visitors already present that morning observed the proceedings with curiosity.