During the Hope To Nope Show at the Design Museum hosted a private event organised by the Italian ‘aerospace, defence and security’ company Leonardo on 17 July, which coincided with the Farnborough Air Show.
At the same time the museum was hosting a ‘Hope to Nope’ discussion about the role of social media and design in contemporary social justice politics.
When news of the Leonardo event came out, a number of artists, including myself who were in the show accused the museum of undermining their artistic ethos by receiving unethical funding – a particularly contentious issue considering the focus of our practices and Syrian artists in the show had been the victims of the very weapons the arms dealers at the Museum sold.
In protest, we formed the Nope To Arms collective. A statement signed by 37 individuals or groups with works in the exhibition, in the museum’s permanent collection, or for sale in the museum’s shop, requested that the museum replace each of the artworks with a label explaining why it had been removed.
The Design Museum did install labels in place of the works which also included a statement from the museum’s directors setting out its position. This stated: “This artwork was removed at the request of the lender who has objected to a private event by an aerospace and defence company that was held at the Design Museum.