American businessman and co-chair of the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art Warren Kanders has resigned. He finally steps down after months of protests against that started with the revelation from Hyperallergic that tear gas used by his company, Safariland, which produces munitions for police and military forces, had been fired at migrants on the US-Mexico border.
The protests initially died down but revived last week with the publication of “The Tear Gas Biennial,” an article by Hannah Black, Tobi Haslett, and Ciarán Finlayson, calling on artists to pull out of the ongoing Whitney Biennial, the museum’s signature event.
In his resignation letter, which was first published by the New York Times, Kanders suggested that his presence had become controversial within the board. “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 joined the Whitney board in 2006 and has donated more than $10 million to the museum, according to the Times.
Photo Credit: Whitney Museum Wikipedia. Caption: This photograph was taken of banners at a gathering of protestors at the lobby of the Whitney Museum, New York, NY, on April 5, 2019. This gathering was the third in a series of events leading up to the 2019 Whitney Biennial, organized to demand that the museum remove Warren Kanders from the museum Board because of his role as owner of weapons manufacturer Safariland.