Tonight’s Whitney Biennial VIP Party brought together two sectors of the art world that continue to butt heads in this post-Occupy Wall Street world. Chic art world partygoers were lined up on Madison Avenue waiting to drink champagne at the Sotheby’s-sponsored Biennial, while a few dozen protesters and an inflatable cat were bringing attention to the museum’s association with the auction house that has locked out union art handlers since early August.
This evening’s protest was the latest incarnation of Occupy Museums‘ most astute political tactic, which is to confront the disparity of the art world head-on and highlight the labor issues that continue to create a playing field that is thoroughly uneven.
One protestor, Cai Machet of Occupy Museums, was wearing a conical hat reminiscent of medieval times and a sticker that read “CULTURE Day 1 of Biennial + BARBARISM Day 210 of Local 814 Lock Out = Sotheby’s.” She also was wearing a sash that read Misanthropy and carrying a basket of posters and a silver tray. “Lots of people don’t know what misanthropy mean,” she says about the revelers waiting to get into the Whitney. “I tell them it’s the opposite of philanthropy.”
Chants of “Shame on Sotheby’s, No Justice, No Peace,” rang out in from of the monolithic museum building but the lines and partygoers seems undeterred by the noise or commotion. One security guard with an ear piece was overheard telling a member of the NYPD that there are about a dozen protestors inside in addition to those out front. The protestors didn’t seem angry and they didn’t appear intent on shutting down the party, this was about raising awareness.
A few moments later, when the lines started to die down, I overheard Machet talking to a gentleman in line about the issues at stake, he seemed supportive and even wished her luck and to “keep it up.” He continued into the museum.
It’s obvious this isn’t the last we’ll hear from Occupy Museums during the 2012 Whitney Biennial.
The action could disrupt public access to the museum as workers campaign for higher wages and better labor conditions.
Over 500 scholars signed an open letter to reinstate the exhibition, which was postponed in consideration of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
This week, artist studios in the streets of Manhattan, a Texas high school, a Brooklyn apartment, and more.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month, including Ed Ruscha, Nina Katchadourian, Luis Camnitzer, Martha Edelheit, and more.
Join the New-York Historical Society on February 10 for a virtual conversation about our changing relationship to the natural world with Julie Decker, John Grade, and LaMont Hamilton.
Asawa’s life masks do not keep count of past or future losses.
At San Francisco’s Legion of Honor, Mobina Nouri took scissors to her own strands and invited others to do the same.
Amid a worsening inflation crisis, Sergio Guillermo Diaz’s banknote artworks are a poignant symbol of Argentinian resilience.
Theatres of Melancholy: The Neo-Romantics in Paris and Beyond highlights a group of artists who found acclaim and patronage only to fall back into obscurity.
Presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum and McCormick School of Engineering, this new exhibition seeks empathy at the boundaries of life. On view in Evanston, Illinois.
Jean Renoir’s newly restored 1939 classic proves that lawless wealth — then as now — makes a marvelous farce of us all.
Hamburg’s Antisemitism Commissioner disparaged photographer Adam Broomberg for his support of the BDS movement.