Nan Goldin, Kara Walker, and the DIS Art Collective Are Among the Hundreds of Cultural Figures Endorsing Bernie Sanders for US President

More than 665 artists have signed a new open letter in support of Sanders.

Presidential candidate and US Senator Bernie Sanders attends an "Artists for Bernie Sanders" exhibition in 2016. Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images.

Nan Goldin, Hito Steyerl, and Kara Walker are among 665 artists and other cultural figures who are publicly endorsing Bernie Sanders for president in a new open letter.

The letter was produced by Artists4Bernie, a campaign founded by artist Mohammed Salemy, curator-writer Jennifer Teets, and the collective DIS. Among its signatories are dozens of notable art world names, including Ed Atkins, Kevin Beasley, Hannah Black, Parker Ito, Jon Rafman, Rachel Rose, Jacolby Satterwhite, Wu Tsang, Amalia Ulman, Chloe Wise, and Anicka Yi. They’re joined by high-profile cultural figures like filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, musician M.I.A., and fashion designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta. (Artnet News’s art critic Ben Davis is also a signatory.)

“We believe that a Sanders presidency will provide a serious and tangible chance for a redirection of the United States and perhaps the entire world from the wrong paths that have been followed for far too long,” the letter reads. “President Sanders will inaugurate a new era for America: one of peace, prosperity, and essential human dignity.”  

It’s not hard to imagine why the Vermont senator has garnered so much support in the art world. His proposed policies, such as free public college and Medicare For All would be a big boon for American art professionals, who often work as freelancers and are saddled with pricy student debt. As mayor of Burlington in the 1980s, Sanders was a proponent of supporting the arts through municipal funds, helping to make Vermont town “one of the most livable cities for the arts.” And, during his 2016 presidential bid, Sanders promised to be an “arts president,” promising to “advocate strongly for robust funding of the arts in our cities, schools, and public spaces. Art is speech. Art is what life is about.”

The letter is a notable intervention given the late entry of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to arts organizations and saw the city become the largest single funder of arts and culture in the US under his watch.

“Overall, we strongly feel that only Sanders represents the values and virtues which all of us as cultural producers have always hoped to strive for,” the letter reads. “President Sanders will inaugurate a new era for America: one of peace, prosperity, and essential human dignity.”

Read the full Artists4Bernie letter here.

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