One of the largest US museums canceled the exhibition, apologizing to the authors of the potential exhibits for anger and disappointment.
For years and decades, it was considered a great success and honor for artists of various sizes if their work got to an exhibition, or even better, was bought by a large museum. But new times dictate new orders. At least in the USA.
The Whitney Museum, one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the United States, came under fire and was forced to cancel an exhibition of works by contemporary artists. The authors of the works and their sympathizers accuse the museum of exploiting creative labor since they believe that the museum had acquired their work without their permission and at a cheaper price.
The works for the exhibition were mainly purchased through various charity auctions, the proceeds of which were intended to help the victims of the pandemic and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. And the authors of the works, including many artists of African American origin, believe that the money given for them by the museum is clearly not enough for these purposes.
The exhibition, entitled Collective Actions: Artist Interventions In a Time of Change, was due to open on September 17 this year. It was planned to show the works of 80 artists, as conceived by the curator Farris Wahbe, created during the pandemic. The artists are also outraged because they did not give permission to display their works. For example, one of the authors stated on her social network that, in her opinion, the exhibition is unauthorized use of works for which the artists did not give their consent and for which they did not receive compensation. In response to the authors’ reaction, the Whitney Museum and Farris Wahbe issued an open letter apologizing to the artists.
By the way, not all artists whose works were included in the exhibition project were offended by the very fact of their work in the museum. Stephen Montaner, the author of the image of the banknote with the burnt head, which was planned to be placed on the poster of the exhibition, said that initially, he was glad that his work was selected for the exhibition in this capacity.