As the Whitney Biennial press previews proceed, making the rounds on Facebook is an Occupy-style spoof of the exhibition’s website. Whitney2012.org (as opposed to whitney.org) claims that the museum has returned money to the two major corporate sponsors of the 2012 Biennial, Sotheby’s and Deutsche Bank, saying that their “recent corporate conduct has made it impossible for the Museum to maintain a partnership with them.”
In a masterfully penned statement “about our sponsors,” the “Whitney” explains that Sotheby’s lockout of 43 of its unionized art handlers since their contract expired in July 2011 led to the decision. The statement concludes, “Sotheby’s actions are a direct attack on the Museum’s mission to support and collect the work of living artists.”
As for Deutsche Bank, which happens to have the largest corporate art collection in the world, the spoof cites numerous lawsuits and accusations of fraud by the federal government, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association.
Lily Antslick in the Whitney press office confirmed that the statement is “completely false.” Senior press officers were at the museum for the show’s previews and unavailable for comment.