Earlier today, the OWS Arts and Labor working group sent out a press release claiming the Whitney Museum was closing in support of OWS efforts to have a general strike on “May Day”, May 1.
The release claimed the Whitney was a ”wholly changed institution”, and that they had decided to break with their main corporate sponsors, Sotheby’s and Deutsche Bank. It also stated that the Whitney was going to “begin vetting each of its sponsors as part of an ongoing restructuring to respond to the needs of the public it serves instead of the private interests of a small minority who possess a vast majority of the nation’s wealth.”
See a full copy of the fake press release here:
The fake release didn’t fool many, as the Whitney is closed on Tuesdays, so it could not be open on May 1, in any event.
This is not the first ‘fake press release” or fake action precipitated by OWS. They have previously set up a fake Bank of America website, and also claimed that they had successfully lobbied a company to quit ALEC “the American Legislative Executive Council” (when it turned out the company had never belonged to ALEC).
OWS previous actions against museums and art institutions have included a violent confrontation with guards at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and a protest of Sotheby’s in support of a workers’ union lobbying against the company. The protest against Sotheby’s even extended to actually invading a Danny Meyer restaurant in NYC, because Meyer was on the Board of Sotheby’s. According to OWS, Occupy Museums is “an ongoing protest that calls out corruption and injustice in institutions of art and culture” They claim that museums and art institutions are a ‘weapon of the 1%” and they reject using ‘art as a “financial instrument”. They plan on holding their own art fair outside the Frieze Art Fair in May, where “we will not use money but rather search for a value system that empowers everyone”.
It is rather ironic that OWS chastises the Whitney for having Deutsche Bank as a sponsor. Since their removal from Zuccotti Park in November of last year, OWS has held the majority of its meetings in the atrium lobby at 60 Wall Street-the Deutsche Bank building. So, in a very real sense, they indeed are “sponsored” by the Deutsche Bank.