(D)IRT, (De)Institutional Research Team, is an autonomous collective of artists, academics, activists, and cultural workers collaborating to reimagine the way cultural institutions are run. We investigate the underlying structures of philanthropy and governance that perpetuate oppressive systems.
Project #1: In solidarity with Decolonize This Place’s nine weeks of action leading up to the Whitney Biennial, we produced an alternative to the museum’s official guide. Our spring guide is designed to lead the reader through the crisis at the Whitney caused by the continuing presence of tear gas manufacturer Warren B. Kanders on the museum’s board of trustees. We have made the PDF available for download and encourage you to share and print the the guide. Please feel free to assemble the guide and bring it with you to the museum. You may choose to leave it in the museum’s kiosks or in a seating area as act of solidarity with the protests and encourage the Whitney to remove Warren B. Kanders from the board immediately.
(D)IRT is working to actively reimagine museum governance in collaboration with museum and cultural workers from across NYC to propose and advocate for models of museum governance that do not perpetuate current models rooted in white supremacy, toxic philanthropy, gentrification, and art washing. We are responding specifically to the Whitney Museum staff's call for the development of ethical and moral guidelines for trustee participation. We also believe that wealth should not be the primary qualification for board members and museum governance. The People's Cultural Plan offers a guide for this work to envision new, community-based models for our museums and cultural institutions.