Following last weekend’s large Decolonize This Place protest inside the Whitney Museum of American Art, artist Rafael Shimunov thought that he should strike deeper into the institution’s heart while the smell of sage smoke still lingers.
Toward the back of the museum’s fourth floor, he says, was an empty wall with little security detail or surveillance. There, Shimunov and the group Art V War decided to install a miniature exhibition of their own — one commemorating Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg’s defense of vice chairman Warren B. Kanders, the manufacturer of the tear gas and smoke grenades hurled by US border agents at asylum-seekers in Tijuana, Mexico in late November.
Shimunov’s installation attracted the attention of museumgoers, some of whom began sharing their own harrowing stories of migration. The artist estimates that approximately 70 people saw the guerrilla exhibition in the 30 minutes he monitored it before slipping away unnoticed. It’s unclear exactly when museum officials caught wind of the protest action, which included two artworks recreating the now-infamous images of a mother and her children suffering from a tear gas attack. Alongside the paintings, Shimunov included the following text:
The Whitney Museum of Art’s Vice Chairman owns weapons manufacturers that supply Trump’s attacks on families and children seeking asylum.
A movement of artists have [sic] emerged to refused to allow our institutions to side with hate
Search #WhitneyTearGas and sign the petition.
“When I first heard the news, I got really upset,” explains Shimunov to Hyperallergic. As a refugee with his parents from Uzbekistan, the images of mothers and children barraged by armed forces at the Tijuana border struck an emotional cord. But as an artist, he found it especially cruel that the Whitney Museum, which recently mounted a lauded exhibition of Indigenous Latinx practices, would continue to support someone like Kanders.
More than 100 staffers at the Whitney Museum signed a letter opposing the institution’s complicity with the Trump administration’s border policies. In response, Mr. Kanders later stated in a letter to the Whitney staff: “I am not the problem” and continued that “Safariland’s role is not to determine when and how [their products] are employed.” He added that his products, like the museum, are “important contributors to our society.”
Just installed a new @ArtvWar exhibit at the Whitney Museum of Art.
It’s a entitled Mother with Daughters in Tear Gas.#WhitneyTearGas
— Rafael Shimunov ? (@rafaelshimunov) December 10, 2018
Shimunov hopes that his art intervention will convince the museum that action is needed. Within Trump’s world, he says, people can live with shame, “but within [art] institutions there is no room for it. Ours could be a world where this guy is radioactive.”
“The Whitney needs to understand that this will only escalate if they do not take action,” Shimunov says.
The Tweet comparing an ominous screen capture from the Tucker Carlson Show to one of Holzer’s Truisms is being sold as an NFT to benefit crucial organizations in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.
Rapper Maykel “Osorbo” Pérez was sentenced to nine years.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to undo 50 years of constitutional rights to abortion, artist Elana Mann’s “protest rattles” feel especially poignant and urgent.
This week, Title IX celebrates 50 years, the trouble with pronouns, a writer’s hilarious response to plagiarism allegations, and much more.
PLEASE SEND TO REAL LIFE: Ray Johnson Photographs reveals the “career in photography” that occupied the artist in the last three years of his life.
Since antiquity, women’s eyebrows have been sites of intense scrutiny, constantly shifting between trend cycles.
A landmark show of 30 artists at Jeffrey Deitch gallery in New York keeps the category of Asian figuration open-ended.
Contemporary Black-Indigenous women artists Rodslen Brown, Joelle Joyner, Moira Pernambuco, Paige Pettibon, Monica Rickert-Bolter, and Storme Webber are featured in this digital exhibition.
Hall makes no attempt to entice the viewer to begin looking and to look again, letting her methodical craft compel viewers to reflect upon their experience.
In Benglis’s latest works, the forces of gravity that defined her seminal poured latex and polyurethane pieces are traded for luminous bronzes.
A new project by Columbia’s Queer Students of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation explores queer histories that have been suppressed by gentrification and urban development.