The firing of David Velasco as the editor of Artforum is not the result we were asking for. We wanted to publish a response calling attention to what was shockingly lacking in the open letter published under his leadership and encourage an honest discussion. Other platforms have since published – and the addendum to the letter later recognized – the glaring omission of the horrific massacre by Hamas and called attention to the hostages abducted to Gaza. That was our primary goal.
Still, Artforum's editorial actions have been unprofessional. The disclaimer that the piece did not reflect the opinions of Artforum came long after publishing. A bolded update about "the horrific massacres of 1400 people in Israel conducted by Hamas," which previously went unmentioned, was placed after a few days, and mentioning the hostages was only later.
Using Emily Jacir's artwork as a cover image following her Instagram stories celebrating the kidnapping of an old kibbutz woman by Hamas, which many informed Velasco of, is an unconscionable mistake. Furthermore, the debate on Artforum's social media was put to an end with the deletion of the post on Instagram without comment. Ignoring our attempt to start a conversation, Artforum didn't open any further venues for public discussion. We don't know how Valesco has the nerve to talk about freedom of speech.
All of this, and more, casts doubt on Artforum's journalistic integrity. It raises the question of whether art journals are even related to the field of journalism or if they're just another medium of artistic expression, like an exhibition.
But what makes our stomachs turn is that we are spending too much time dealing with privileged art world debates while we are still mourning the dead; the hostages are still captive, and we are busy trying to heal the wounds in bodies and souls and take care of the hundreds of thousands displaced in Israel. Even more so with the ongoing horrific bombings in Gaza – the bodies piling up, the thousands of children dying. And the war has just started.
Now, it is most important to join all the voices that call for a ceasefire, the end of indiscriminate bombings, and the immediate release of the hostages. And do what is in our power to help to stop this atrocious war.