On Saturday, a day after four artists demanded their works be removed from the 2019 Whitney Biennial, another four artists called on the Whitney Museum to remove their art from the exhibition. The decisions by artists Eddie Arroyo, Agustina Woodgate, and Christine Sun Kim, as well as the London-based collective Forensic Architecture, brought the total number of artists who’ve withdrawn from the exhibition to eight. The artists who pulled out on Friday were Korakrit Arunanondchai, Meriem Bennani, Nicole Eisenman, and Nicholas Galanin.
All the artists are withdrawing from the biennial, the most important recurring survey of contemporary art in the U.S., over the Whitney Museum’s inaction in the face of sustained calls to remove the vice chairman of its board of trustees, Warren B. Kanders. Kanders owns the company Safariland, which manufactures military and law enforcement equipment. As outlined in the Forensic Architecture video that is being removed from the exhibition, Triple-Chaser (2019), tear gas made by Safariland has been used against asylum-seekers at the U.S.–Mexico border, protesters in Gaza, and elsewhere.
Forensic Architecture and Kim confirmed their withdrawals in reports by Hyperallergic and the New York Times, respectively. Arroyo and Woodgate announced their withdrawals through their gallery, Miami-based Spinello Projects, which also said it would close its current two-artist show of their work in solidarity.
The 2019 Whitney Biennial, which has now seen more than 10 percent of its 75 artists and collectives withdraw, is slated to run through September 22nd.