Adam D. Weinberg

Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art

Tricky year for Weinberg. At the end of 2018, the forthcoming Whitney Biennial – at the museum he’s directed since 2003 – became a flashpoint for controversy when employees demanded the removal of board member Warren B. Kanders over his involvement with teargas manufacturer Safariland. This after the 2017 biennial had been embroiled in a war of words over its inclusion of a painting accused of sensationalising racist violence. This time around, Weinberg dithered, artists quit the biennial and Kanders eventually resigned. One sensed damage-control when, in September, the institution broke ground on David Hammons’s monumental public project Day’s End and Weinberg described the installation as representing ‘our commitment to community and civic good’. Meanwhile, the Whitney continued to settle into its downtown home, with a big Warhol retrospective and an emphasis on shows for artists of colour (Pope.L, Kevin Beasley, Derek Fordjour). How much reputational damage the biennial hullabaloo has caused in the long term remains to be seen.