A California gallery that will feature red “Make America Great Again” hats reconstructed as hate symbols is moving its upcoming exhibit following threats, the gallery owner told HuffPost.
The gallery, Jen Tough, will feature works in August by Maryland-based artist Kate Kretz, who has redesigned hats bearing Donald Trump’s slogan into provocative symbols including a red Ku Klux Klan hood and an armband marked with a Nazi swastika.
Works in her “Hate Hat Collection” are intended to both “call out wearers who claim the hats to be innocuous, and to sound the alarm that history is repeating itself,” Kretz said in a recent statement on Medium.
News of the upcoming exhibit in local media was followed by several threatening comments posted online and a phone call to the gallery, Tough told HuffPost.
“There were comments threatening to destroy the artwork, but also more ominous comment,” she said. The gallery, in the northern San Francisco Bay area, is in an “isolated location with more than one entrance; it’s not very secure,” she said. “We’re also an all-female gallery, so that’s a concern.”
She said the exhibit will be now be presented in a “more secure” pop-up viewing room in San Francisco. “I feel like I don’t have any other choice,” she said. “We can’t have someone getting hurt, or the art ruined.”
She plans to reveal the exact location closer to the exhibit’s opening to avoid providing any planning time for those angered by Kretz’s art.
Tough said she has never before experienced threats concerning any other artwork at her gallery.
“Art is more important now than ever before,” she told HuffPost. “Kate’s message is important. It has to be shown. MAGA is a symbol of hate to many people — minorities, the LGBTQ community, women.”
Kretz battled Facebook earlier this month after the company froze her account for violating “community standards” with photos of her artwork. She appealed the decision several times, pointing out that it was art, and that it was attacking — not promoting — hate speech.
While Facebook was quick to address Kretz’s artwork, it has been slammed for being slow to remove known white nationalist content from its platform. During appeals from Kretz, Facebook allowed a doctored video — promoted by President Donald Trump with a retweet on Twitter — of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) making her appear to be drunk.
Facebook finally unfroze Kretz’s page, but she is now blocked on Instagram.
Kretz’s artwork — including her “MAGA Hat Collection” — can be seen on her website here.