The Seattle Art Museum is known for its 48-foot tall Hammering Man, an outdoor sculpture that greets visitors and — in the words of the artist — is meant to portray the “worker in all of us.”
So, it wasn’t lost on us Tuesday night when the labor group Working Washington, and an affiliate group known as Other 98, took its latest Amazon.com protest on workers’ rights to the exterior walls of the Seattle Art Museum.
To elevate their message, the groups projected light displays on the walls of the building, calling out the online retailer’s business practices. Amazon.com plans to host its annual meeting at the Seattle Art Museum Thursday, and Working Washington’s Sage Wilson said that the display was meant to raise awareness of the “loopholes” that Amazon.com uses “to dodge their taxes.”
It’s unclear to us whether such a display on private property is illegal, and we’ve reached out to the Seattle Art Museum to get their take on how they feel about their walls being used as a canvas for Working Washington’s message. (Any lawyers out there have ideas on the legality of this?)
The group does not plan to project the display tonight, but Wilson said that they have other protests in the works in advance of Thursday’s meeting. Today, for example, the group plans to float a “thought bubble” next to the Hammering Man with the question “What if Amazon paid its fair share?”
The display came a few hours after GeekWire reported that Amazon.com erected a sign at the company’s South Lake Union headquarters warning protestors to stay off the property or face prosecution for criminal trespass.
“Amazon excluded the public from its public plaza yesterday because they were apparently afraid of 10 people reading a story,” Wilson said in an email to GeekWire. “But they didn’t have a way to exclude these light projections from the side of the Seattle Art Museum last night.”
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for the Seattle Art Museum said that Working Washington did not have permission to project the images onto the building.
“We were not contacted about the projection and they did not have our permission. This has not occurred before and we are talking internally about the issue,” said Cara Egan.