On October 21, 2023, a post was made on the Instagram of MOCA-Tucson, where Leah Schrager was a board member, that accused Israel of “settler colonial oppression” and the “genocide of Palestinian peoples on occupied lands.” No prior comment on the massacre of 1400 Israelis had been made by the museum. In fact, when asked about the post, a senior staff member stated, “We at MOCA are not interested in commenting on the current cultural climate of the Middle East or elsewhere and that is our policy.”
Yet MOCA-Tucson was not alone. On October 19, 2023, 2000+ artists signed an “Open Letter from the Art Community to Cultural Organisations” accusing Israel of genocide and calling “the root cause of violence: oppression, and the occupation.” No prior statement from the “art community” had been made in response to the massacre by Hamas.
It was the tipping point for Schrager.
“This is bigger than the post by MOCA-Tucson. They’re a wonderful organization, and making political posts on certain issues and not on others is common in the art world. Yet in my view, this is an ‘emperor has no clothes’ moment. I’ve seen a number of cultural organizations who posted frequently on the incidents surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement say they won’t post on the Hamas massacre because they don’t comment on politics. Of course, they’re all free to post what they wish, but this discrepancy proves that instead of being actually non-political, these organizations are selectively political while claiming not to be. But it’s time to tell the truth: America’s art institutions have largely become political action committees hiding behind the facade of art to raise money and satisfy their own political objectives while in the process destroying art. That is a problem.”
Then, after resigning from the board, she created the solution: The Museum of Non-Political Art.