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Warren Kanders Whitney Museum: Vice President resigns after tear gas protests



  • Warren B. Kanders, Whitney Museum of American Art, Deputy Chairman and CEO of Safariland, resigned from the museum's board on Thursday.
  • Museum employees and artists protested against his – and the – connection of the museum to the weapons company.
  • The Safariland logo featured tear gas bottles and smoke grenades used against asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border.
  • A group of eight artists withdrew their work from the Whitney Biennial after their president took no action against Kanders. Warren B. Kanders, deputy chairman of the Whitney Museum of American Art, resigned on Thursday after months of protests ̵
    1; including the withdrawal of eight artists from the prestigious Whitney Biennial exhibition – over the sale of tear gas for asylum seekers from his board of directors back on the border between the United States and Mexico.

    Kanders announced his resignation with immediate effect in a letter addressed to the Museum's Board of Trustees, as the New York Times first reported.

    "Unfortunately, the targeted campaign of attacks against me and my company over the last few months has undermined Whitney's vital work, and I joined that body to make the museum a success, and I do not want to play a role, albeit unintentionally, in its downfall, "wrote Kanders.

    Kanders owns Safariland, which produces military goods including tear gas, which was used on the border between the United States and Mexico against migrants . In 2012, he bought the Jacksonville, Florida-based company for $ 124 million.

    In December, more than 100 Whitney employees signed an open letter requesting the museum management to respond to Kanders' connection to the border crisis.

    US. Fires teargas across the Mexican border to stop migrants.

    "First and foremost, some of us are deeply involved with the communities directly affected and affected by the tear gas on the border, and if Whitney does not acknowledge that this news could affect his employees, it is suspected that this is the case is." Aside from the question of whether this is another event, "the letter says.

    Whitney Director Adam Weinberg largely circumvented the controversy and often called the museum" a place of great promise, hope and dream, often against big odds.

    Kanders joined Whitney's Board of Directors in 2006, where his wife Allison was a member of the Painting and Sculpture Committee until Thursday, and a museum staircase is named after the couple, according to Hyperallergic, an online art magazine.

    The growing indignation The Whitney artist about the affair seems to have forced Kanders to yield to his plea.

    In December, Michael Barknitz, a biennial artist, withdrew from the exhibition in protest of Kanders, and last week asked four other artists in a letter published by the Art Forum, asking the museum to extract its works from the exhibition, and four other artists joining the group.

    "We ask that you withdraw our work from the Whitney Biennale for the rest of the show. This motion seeks to condemn the continued presence of Warren Kanders as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. "read the artist's letter."

    They said that they had already committed to attend the Biennale when they heard of Kanders & # 39; s role as CEO of Safariland, and that the "Museum continues to not respond to growing pressure from Kanders said he was "proud" of what was done during his tenure at the museum, but warned that he was the "living art community" that this institution has been since Days of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney could clearly endorse risk. "


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