Every two years the hipster art world munches on sour grapes and whines about the Whitney Biennial, which has been criticized in the past for being too cliquey, too scattershot, too short on women, not enough minorities, and criminally ignoring artists (like the ones doing the griping). Now it seems the Biennial has a new hater: Occupy Wall Street, which is most likely behind a parody Whitney Biennial website "announcing" that the institution had "broken" with two of its corporate sponsors, Sotheby's and Deutsche Bank, and returned their filthy money. Ha. Ha ha. Hahahahaha! From the fake website:
The Whitney will find a way to open the 2012 Biennial in spite of the Museum's difficult decision to break with the two major corporate sponsors of the Biennial. Regretfully, the Whitney entered into a sponsor agreement with Sotheby's before the auction house locked out forty-three of its unionized art handlers once their contract expired in July 2011. Last year saw record-breaking sales with profits over $100 million for Sotheby's; the pay of the CEO alone doubled to $6 million. Yet Sotheby's has sought to break organized labor by starving their workers into submission—locked out of their jobs and without wages since August, these workers and their families lost their health care benefits at the end of 2011.
As for Deutsche Bank (which Brian Boucher at Art in America notes has the largest corporate art collection in the world), the Bizarro World Whitney explains that "reckless and even fraudulent financial speculation by banks like Deutsche Bank has created enormous social costs in terms of lost jobs, savings, and homes. The Whitney does not want the bank's sponsorship of the Biennial to distract from these serious matters or to reflect poorly on the Museum, and so must end the sponsorship agreement."
No one affiliated with Occupy Wall Street has claimed responsibility, but the OWS Arts and Labor Working Group seems like the likely culprit. Last week the group called on the Whitney to end the Biennial in 2014, arguing that it "upholds a system that benefits collectors, trustees, and corporations at the expense of art workers." Neither the working group nor the Whitney would comment on the parody. But whoever's behind it did a pretty convincing job... except of course for that part about the museum returning hundreds of thousands of dollars to its corporate sponsors.