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The Gray Market: Why Art Dealers Need to Focus on New Audiences or Risk Irrelevance (and Other Insights)

January 27, 2020

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‘What Is Considered Evil?’: How US Museum Leaders Are Grappling With the Fallout of Warren Kanders’s Controversial Resignation From the Whitney

Political activists gather outside of the Whitney Museum to demand that the museum's board dismiss Warren Kanders. Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images.

 

Activists and artists have been pushing out what they consider “toxic” museum philanthropists at an unprecedented pace in recent months. In a spectacular development, in late July, Warren Kanders, whose company Safariland manufactures tear gas, resigned from his position as vice chair of the Whitney Museum’s board after eight artists threatened to withdraw their work from the current biennial in protest of his presence.

 

Meanwhile, museums around the world have started rejecting funding from the Sackler family, which manufactured and aggressively marketed the addictive painkiller OxyContin.

 

Now many activists and philanthropists alike are wondering, what’s next?

There is no shortage of potential targets: The anti-climate-science David Koch is a trustee emeritus of the Metropolitan Museum (with his name on the fountain out front), while David M. Rubenstein, whose weath is linked to the fighter jets used