Monolithic Museum Collections Are Like Climate Change—They Will Take Generations to Undo, But We Must Start Now, Naomi Beckwith, δημοσίευση στο Artnet News [15/12/2022]
There is a quirky confidence we hold in the United States, an idiosyncrasy that permeates much of our public consciousness. We believe a single person or initiative can correct long-standing issues, and do so in an instant.
This belief in efficient corrections—a perversion of the butterfly effect—gives us a one-and-done attitude toward inequity and justice. It allows us to ostensibly ignore our personal complicity in furthering injustice and to ignore the systemic roots of inequities that will inevitably sprout tendrils again. While there are examples aplenty in the political sphere, such the misplaced hope that Barack Obama would usher in a “post-racial” society, we are equally susceptible to this fallacious thinking in the museum world.
Many majority-culture institutions in the U.S. have taken sincere and truly laudable attempts at correcting the gross gender and racial imbalances in their exhibitions and collections, especially over the past few years. As the 2018 and 2019 Burns Halperin Reports showed, outside of “culturally specific” institutions whose very mission focuses their work away from Euro-normative art, the permanent collections of most modern and contemporary institutions are overwhelmingly white-European.
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