Protesters in the lobby of the Whitney Museum on May 18, 2019 (image by the author for Hyperallergic)

From undergoing nine weeks of protests to displaying more ethnically and racially diverse than previous years, this year’s Whitney Biennial has a lot to unpack, particularly around the resignation of Warren B. Kanders, the former vice chair of the Whitney Museum and the man behind Safariland, a tear gas and military equipment manufacturer.

I asked our associate news editor Jasmine Weber, editor and critic Seph Rodney, and reporter Hakim Bishara to join me and reflect on months of controversy and protest, while offering their opinions on the exhibition itself. We discuss favorite works, what the state of affairs is post-Kanders, and the biennial’s duds. You’ll want to hear this.

A special thanks to Wanderraven, who provided the music to this week’s episode. The song is “Here Into The Dark” and you can hear more at

This and more in the current episode of our weekly Art Movements podcast.

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Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

2 replies on “After Kanders: Reflecting on the 2019 Whitney Tear Gas Biennial”

  1. How is it possible that a group of art critics that are personally and intellectually invested in the diversification of the so called art world, get together to talk about the highlights of the Whitney Biennial and fail to mention even one Indigenous artist in the exhibition- except the sloppy blunder at the end when you remembered the “best piece in the exhibition” and couldn’t remember the artist’s name? Laura Ortman! The Whitney Museum of American Art has historically excluded Indigenous artists from its collections and exhibitions and is finally taking steps to correct this obvious gab in it definition of what constitutes “American” art, and this Biennial showed that effort more explicitly than ever before.

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