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Home / Entertainment / At the Whitney Museum Biennial, 8 artists withdraw in protest against the sale of tear gas: NPR

At the Whitney Museum Biennial, 8 artists withdraw in protest against the sale of tear gas: NPR



Artists are calling on the New York City's Whitney Museum of American Art to remove their bi-annual exhibition work to combat a museum board's commitment to selling law enforcement material, including tear gas.

Bebeto Matthews / AP


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Bebeto Matthews / AP

Artists urge the New York City's Whitney Museum of American Art to remove their bi-annual exhibition work to combat a museum director's commitment to selling law enforcement material, including tear gas.

Bebeto Matthews / AP

More and more artists are telling the Whitney Museum for American Art that they are withdrawing from the high-profile biennial contemporary art showcase that is currently taking place in New York.

"It was a really simple decision," says artist Nicholas Galanin, speaking by phone from Alaska, where he lives. Together with three other artists, he told Whitney on Friday that he wants his multimedia work taken out of the show.

Over the weekend Galanin and the others were joined by four other artists and collectives. Many in the art world expect other artists to follow suit on the show next week.

The artists protest against Whitney Board Vice Chairman Warren B. Kanders for his ownership of military supply companies selling tear gas and bullets that the artists use against migrants on the southern border of the US and against unarmed civilian demonstrators in Gaza should have used.

One of the Biennale's pieces, a short video titled "Triple Chaser," shows a case against Kanders with the help of cruel images of a Palestinian demonstrator being shot. It was created by a London collective called Forensic Architecture together with Praxis Films, a filmmaker Laura Poitras company.

Forensic Architecture is one of the artists requesting to remove their work from the Whitney Biennale.

"We could end up having a biennial with empty spaces," says Zachary Small, senior author of the art news website Hyperallergic. "That would be an amazing statement about who finances culture."

Art critic Blake Gopnik, an employee of New York Times agrees.

"The artists who have actually withdrawn from the Biennale" This is an outstanding work of political art, "he said, pointing to the misconduct of the artists.

Other critics pointed out that these artists were influenced by the It has been terribly convenient that they have been waiting to withdraw their art until the critics have appeared, thousands of people have seen their work and the show will end relatively soon, on the 22nd of September. 19659017] There's nothing to do here and it's perfect “/>

"But look, we're talking about these issues," Gopnik says Awareness of the contradictions and the subtleties and ambiguities – and that's what art can do. "

(Nicholas Galanin, for his part, said he was aware of Kanders role in the museum when he did accepted the invitation from Whitney. However, as a Native American, he considered it important to represent a group of people who are not there. He is not often recognized on the walls of museums of contemporary art. He says he hoped the museum would displace Kanders if enough artists opposed him.)

Two visitors who went to the Whitney Biennale on Sunday, Rachel Weber and her friend Coral Bourgeois said that they usually do when they go to museums, need inspiration – not to think about how the money behind them comes from the tools of war.

"It really did bring it home," said Weber, as Bourgeois joined in their agreement. "That's what Whitney is."

In a statement, Whitney President Adam D. Weinberg said, "The Whitney respects the views of all the artists it exhibits and stands by its right to speak freely, and although Whitney is saddened by this decision, we become natural Stick to it with the request of the artists. "

By Sunday, none of the artwork had been mined and it is unclear what will happen to the artist's fees.

Nicholas Galanin says he received $ 1,500 for his plays on the show. But he said that does not cover the cost of the trip from Alaska, where he lives, to the opening, and then to getting up in New York.

These costs, he said, would not have paid Whitney. But Galanin said he would like to pay his fee back to the Whitney if the museum desires it in return for his work.


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