Dr John Blakinger talks about demonstrations against the Whitney Museum of American Art related to its connections with the tear gas manufacturer Safariland.
In November 2018, an image of migrants fleeing tear gas at the US-Mexico border ricocheted across the internet, inspiring protests against the Trump administration’s immigration policies but also against a more unlikely target: the Whitney Museum of American Art. The artist-activist collective Decolonize This Place stormed the museum in demonstration against the Whitney’s connections to Safariland, a manufacturer of tear gas. Andy Warhol’s silkscreen canvases, then on view for a major retrospective, took on new meanings during these events. The artist’s “Death in America” paintings depicting turmoil in the 1960s came to life in the gallery.