RAF / Reduce Art Flights is a campaign imploring that the art world (artists, curators, critics, gallerists, collectors, museum directors, etc.) should diminish its use of aeroplanes. It was initiated by the artist Gustav Metzger
(1926–2017) on the occasion of the artist’s participation in Skulptur Projekte Münster
in 2007, during which 5,000 leaflets based on a 1942 Royal Air Force poster were distributed.
The website reduceartflights.lttds.org
in 2008 by Latitudes with the blessing of Gustav as new wing of the campaign alongside the reactivation of the RAF
initiative as part of the exhibition Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities
. It now acts as a growing repository of information about RAF
, with details of further leafleting campaigns, such as those in Mexico City
(2015) and Lausanne
Yet what does it mean that a virus effectively realised the aims of RAF
last year—at least temporarily? What does Metzger’s prescient vision of degrowth
entail in 2021? The time is ripe for thinking through what RAF
implies for a whole suite of institutional and personal commitments in terms of art-world travel and transport, something that the Gallery Climate Coalition
, to mention one example, is addressing.
For those in London, Tate Modern
reopens of 17 May with a room
dedicated to Gustav Metzger, organised by Valentina Ravaglia (Curator, Displays & International Art). Including a presentation of RAF
, the display tackles the artist’s extraordinary portent of the destructive potential of technology.