We welcome the removal of Warren Kanders and recognize this is a seismic shift in the artworld.
Urgently, we remind people of something we have said from the start after we point a way forward beyond Kanders, as follows: “We know this goes beyond Kanders. He is a stand-in for an entire system. Toxic philanthropy can no longer be normalized. The landscape is changing, as we can see with the repudiation of the Sacklers by the Met, Guggenheim, and Tate. … The removal of Kanders is a gesture of good faith by the museum, a signal that you grasp the historical moment, and that you recognize business cannot go on as usual. It would open a pathway for a collective process to address deeper structural questions about the distribution of power and the shape of institutional governance. The crisis started with teargas, and it now points to decolonization. In the open letter signed by more than 400 writers, curators, and artists calling for the removal of Kanders, they invoke the prospect of a Decolonization Commission that would “include community stakeholders and guided by a variety of urgent principles: Indigenous land rights and restitution, reparations for enslavement and its legacies, the dismantling of patriarchy, workplace democracy, de- gentrification, climate justice, and sanctuary from border regimes and state violence more generally.” -- see http://www.decolonizethisplace.org/post/crisis-of-the-whitney-week-9-decolonization
From the Verso Letter, titled Kanders Must Go: An Open Letter from Theorists, Critics, and Scholars and Artists -- We recall the following: “The Whitney staff letter has called for "the development and distribution of a clear policy around Trustee participation," that would “clarify what qualifies or disqualifies a wealthy philanthropic individual for the Board. Is there a moral line?” Clarifying lines of unacceptability concerning Trustee participation would be a crucial step by the museum, but on its own this reform will not resolve the crisis at the Whitney, or at other institutions facing similar dilemmas. At stake are deeper structural questions related to the distribution of power and the shape of institutional governance. These questions have been addressed in recent years by a range of grassroots groups and student movements working to “decolonize” museums and universities. They are building solidarity across struggles by demanding decolonization commissions that include community stakeholders, and that are guided by a variety of urgent principles: Indigenous land rights and restitution, reparations for enslavement and its legacies, the dismantling of patriarchy, workplace democracy, de-gentrification, climate justice, and sanctuary from border regimes and state violence more generally.” -- see https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4295-kanders-must-go-an-open-letter-from-theorists-critics-and-scholars-updated-list-of-signatories