Occupy Wall Street Takes Aim at Whitney Biennial

  • February 29, 2012 21:55

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Occupy Wall Street sign in New York
flickr user DoctorTongs

Hard on the heels of a faux Whitney Biennial website being set up to mock the museum for its corporate ties, an Occupy Wall Street (OWS) group has written a letter calling for the Biennial’s cessation in 2014. 

While the website took specific aim at the Whitney’s connection to Deutsche bank and Sotheby’s, no group has actually taken responsibility for the parody. 

The letter to the Whitney from Arts and Labor, a working group from OWS Arts and Culture, suffers from no such ambiguity.  Hitherto, Occupy Wall Street has mainly confined its criticism to big banks, mega-corporations and wealthy individuals, but apparently the Whitney Biennial is its latest target. 

In the letter, the group states, “We object to the biennial in its current form because it up-holds a system that benefits collectors, trustees, and corporations at the expense of art workers.”

The 2012 biennial is scheduled to kick off on March 1st. The high-profile exhibition, which has been taking place since 1932, is hosted by the Whitney Museum and focuses on contemporary American artists. 


The event shines a light on many young artists, and those just gaining international recognition, as well as established artists; for example this year’s biennial will include Andrea Fraser, noted German filmmaker Werner Herzog, and will honor the recently passed Mike Kelly. 

The letter from the Arts and Labor group demands an end to the Biennial to take place after its centennial year in 2013.  Like the mock website, it takes aim at the Biennial’s corporate sponsorship, most particularly with Sotheby’s.

(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)

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