Warren B. Kanders, the vice chair of the Whitney Museum in New York, said that he will resign from his position after more than half a year of protests against his ownership of Safariland, a company that produces tear-gas canisters and other supplies used by the military and law enforcement. The news was first reported by the New York Times.
In a letter to the museum’s board, Kanders wrote, “The targeted campaign of attacks against me and my company that has been waged these past several months has threatened to undermine the important work of the Whitney. I joined this board to help the museum prosper. I do not wish to play a role, however inadvertent, in its demise.”
Kanders’s departure comes just days after eight participants in the Whitney Biennial requested that their work be pulled from the show because of Kanders’s continued presence on the board. According to two of the artists reached by ARTnews, their pieces were slated to be removed by August 2, but no works have yet been taken out.
Adam Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, said in a statement, “Warren and Allison Kanders have been unwavering in their commitment to this institution, including a generous lead gift towards the Museum’s building project. The Whitney’s groundbreaking Warhol exhibition and the past exhibitions of the works of Laura Owens, Jeff Koons and Wade Guyton, among others, were in part made possible thanks to their support. As Director, I am very grateful.”
Kanders had been on the museum’s board since 2006. Richard DeMartini, the president of the Whitney’s board, said in a statement, “Our deepest thanks to both of them for their devotion and service to the Whitney.”
A museum spokesperson said that a stairway named for Kanders and his wife will not be renamed.
The resignation comes amid months of protests, open letters, essays, and debate. The…
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