MORE ON CURTAINS
The Curtain Project is an extension of The Spoon Movement, a landmark activist art project founded by gallerist Fernando Luis Alvarez after dropping an 800-pound spoon at the headquarters of Purdue Pharma on June 22, 2018 (an act which led to his arrest). Covered by the national and international press, the Spoon Movement sparked a series of legal, political, and social battles against the Sackler family.
Speculations about the criminal activity of the Sackler family--once only whispers--are now ubiquitous. Over the past few years, countless legal investigations and lawsuits have alleged their involvement in conspiracy and fraud, as our research shows.
Yet the American justice system has been slow to catch up with the public outcry. The political machinery underlying the Department of Justice is fundamentally flawed. Lobbyists, political interest groups, out of touch judges, and wealthy donors are able to push for selective prosecution and amnesty. What are the underlying motivations of the national actors who behave as curtains? We invite you to make your own judgment.
On December 15, 2020 Gallerist and Artist Fernando Luis Alvarez launched The Curtains Movement by highlighting a timely curtain:
Curtains tell the story of the inexhaustible complicity and myopia of crowds.
With the eight-foot-high faces staring back at you, waving in the wind, we are seeking to cause a change—to disrupt the way large numbers of people are unwittingly steered into condoning the actions of those with financial power regardless of the consequences. Insulated by the crowd and the status quo, these fiscal giants are protected by the collective force of society—even if they are poisons to it.
From the “Tulipmania” bubble in 1637 to the housing market crash in 2008, history bears out the pattern of the innovator who engenders hysteria in large populations. Such actors ultimately damage the fortunes and futures of millions of hopeful people. This phenomenon—the inevitable ebb and flow of the malice of the few and vulnerability of the many—has been observed before. It has been recognized by a dozen different authors and christened according to several historiographical traditions. Futurist Watts Wacker calls it the “five hundred year delta”: an abrupt shift for the worse in society, with which most people simply follow along. Journalist Charles Mackay wrote of it as “extraordinary delusions and the madness of crowds,” and among his examples listed railway mania and the Crusades. We have created Curtains Today because we are in the midst of such an episode of delusion and madness.
In the last two decades, greed-driven behavior and wanton disregard for human life have become an epidemic. Opioids, unethically branded and marketed by a group of influential people who cared little about the consequences of their actions, have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Newspapers and TV have reported the mounting lawsuits, thousand-strong, against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family. Meanwhile, the Sacklers have cleverly used philanthropic donations to educational, cultural, and political institutions as “curtains” to distract us from the death toll of their manipulative tactics.
So what of it? Your face is not on a curtain, like that of resignee Attorney-General Barr's. You are free to turn and walk away, to ignore the tragedy of the opioid epidemic. But you can instead, choose to be a member of a society evolving in a new direction, a society that will refuse to accept this complicity in our public and educational institutions. We invite you to closely examine these curtains--and in so doing, to confront your own societal complicities.