#J20 isn’t just a trending hashtag, it’s a watershed. It refers to the date, January 20th, and if ever there was a calendar page with the potential to be a watershed, this is it. This is the day that the 45th president of the United States takes the oath of office.
#J20 also refers to an action, a recourse, a symbolic cultural counterstrike. #J20 is the rallying cry for a day-long art strike—a protest movement wherein the wildcatters of the art world set down their brushes, silence their poesy, and shun the hallowed gallery halls. In doing so the strikers demonstrate not languid defiance of the new regime but rather soul-deep mourning for what has passed, and fear of what’s to come.
And symbolic though #J20 may be, it’s no mere gesture. It’s a clamor, emanating from a quarter uniquely adept at making noise.
The message to the incoming administration is this: By your own words and deeds you’ve squandered any trust and goodwill we might have owed you. All you’ve left us is wariness and watchfulness. We are wary, and we are watching.
And it all starts on #J20