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In the Post-Warren Kanders Era, Artists and Dealers Wonder: Should Collectors Be Vetted?

October 24, 2019

Some artists are doing their best to disentangle themselves from collectors they deem politically inadequate. Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images


The bruising battle this spring that led to the resignation of Warren Kanders from the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art has the art world wondering: What’s next?


This week, answers began to emerge as protesters hit the Museum of Modern Art to demonstrate against board member and art collector Steven Tananbaum, whom activists say has profited from the debt crisis in Puerto Rico. The demonstration came on the heels of another protest, against MoMA board member Laurence D. Fink, the CEO of the investment firm BlackRock, which has large investments in private prisons.



Now, some are wondering how this heightened level of scrutiny could affect the art market. As Miami collector Martin Margulies put it to artnet News: “Do artists inspect the background of every collector who buys their artwork?”



A Thin Red Line