Daniel Joseph Martinez - Whitney Biennial Museum Tags, 1993
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, New York, 1993
6 metal museum entrance tags
“I Can’t Imagine Ever Wanting to be White”
Condition is good. Some have bends from use at the 1993 biennial.
Complete sets are scarce.
From 2016 Vulture article about the '93 biennial:
“Before the tags I had all kinds of museums and galleries wanting me to do shows,” he says. “Then the biennial happened and I couldn’t buy a show. No one would touch me. The tags themselves are completely misunderstood. Arthur Danto was beside himself with anger. Like most white people, he didn’t know what to do with it. People started every article saying, ‘Daniel Martinez is a reverse racist’ and I was like, ‘That’s the best you got?!’ I relish anyone with an intellect who is really willing to do the work, but instead what you got was a bunch of responses from people I wouldn’t even ask to pick the colored towels in my bathroom.
My piece in particular completely changed the identity of the Whitney Museum. They were never able to go back the same way because it had altered its institutional profile. We believed the battle had been won. We thought that if you could have the Whitney commit its resources to [this conversation] then it only seemed logical that everyone would follow suit. We didn’t think the reaction would be, ‘this is the worst thing that ever happened.’ It should’ve been a cue to anyone that art could be richer, more fantastic, and why would anybody want less? Instead the response was the most neo-con reaction possible. There were 800 or 900 reviews written and they were basically like, ‘Who let the queers and minorities into the museum?’ instead of embracing a reality of inevitability in this country. We were wrong. We were wrong.”