Museums love to mount provocative art exhibits but they can turn tail if an installation proves to be "unexpectedly volatile."
Those were the words the Museum of the Moving Image used Friday to explain why it's shutting down the actor's rowdy, anti-Trump "participatory Internet streaming performance."
In a statement posted to its website, the museum says the exhibit has become "a serious and ongoing public safety hazard" for visitors, staff, local residents and businesses in Queens, N.Y.
"Over the course of the installation, there have been dozens of threats of violence and numerous arrests, such that police felt compelled to be stationed outside the installation 24 hours a day, seven days a week," the museum said.
The protest project, which they concede began "constructively," turned out to be "a flashpoint for violence," the museum's statement said.
"The museum has abandoned us," LaBeouf tweeted soon after the announcement.
HEWILLNOTDIVIDEUS, as LaBeouf and his art partners, Ronko & Turner, called their digital art project, began Jan. 20, when
The project sparked conversations, for sure, but not all of them were convivial given these divided times. LaBeouf was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault after getting into an early-morning altercation with an unidentified 25-year-old man outside the museum on Jan. 25.
It's not clear what provoked the confrontation but police said LaBeouf pulled a scarf off the man, scratching his face, although the victim did not seek medical attention. LaBeouf was released a few hours later.
The museum said it was proud to have launched this "engaging and thought-provoking" art installation, which it claimed was seen by millions of online viewers worldwide. But the museum had to put prudence and safety first.
"Until public safety concerns overrode the intent of the installation, HEWILLNOTDIVIDEUS generated an important conversation allowing interaction among people from many backgrounds and with different viewpoints," the statement said.
The museum, which opened in 1988 in the former
2017 USA Today