Indianapolis Museum of Art apologizes for job posting which mentioned “traditional, basic and white art audiences”
The Indianapolis Museum of Art in Newfields has apologized for a job offer seeking a new director who could attract a more diverse audience while retaining the “traditional white art audience.”
the New York Times Reports Newfields museum director and general manager Charles L. Venable said in an interview that the wording in the job posting was intentional. He said the listing was intended to indicate that the museum would not abandon its existing audience as it sought a more diverse and inclusive crowd.
“I deeply regret that the choice of language clearly did not work to reflect our overall intention to develop our core artistic audience by welcoming more people to the door,” Venable said according to The Times. “We were trying to be transparent that anyone who is going to apply for this position really has to be involved in DCI’s efforts in all parts of the museum.”
Guest curators of the upcoming “DRIP: Indy’s #BlackLivesMatter Street Mural” exhibit, Malina Simone Jeffers and Alan Bacon, told The Times they could no longer stay as guest curators. Simone Jeffers and Bacon are the founders of GANGGANG, an Indianapolis-based incubator that nurtures artists of color.
“Our exhibit cannot be produced in that context and that environment,” said Simone Jeffers and Bacon. “We asked Newfields to revisit this exhibition to include an apology to all artists involved, the ability for all 18 visual artists to show their other personal works with appropriate compensation, and Newfields’ intentional strategy to display more works. blacker artists. for life.”
“Until then,” they continued, “GANGGANG will not continue as guest curators for this exhibition. “
The Times notes that the museum’s former associate curator, Kelli Morgan, a black woman, resigned in July over what she called a “toxic” and “discriminatory” culture at the museum.
“It is clear that there is no investment or attention to what is learned or communicated in the training,” Morgan said when contacted by The Times. “Because if there had been, there was no way a job posting would have been written like that, let alone for a museum director.”
Morgan added that the incident at the Newfield museum was indicative of a larger problem in museum culture. As the Times notes, spaces such as museums have largely excluded people of color.
“Until the museum world is black and white, red and purple, and until we collectively address the responsibility for discrimination, things like this will continue to happen,” Morgan said.
In July of last year, amid new Black Lives Matter protests, several former Smithsonian members showed up with allegations of racism going back years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAfA).
In a letter to Lonnie Bunch III, the first black chief of the Smithsonian Institution, former staff described a culture of racism that has persisted through multiple changes of leadership.
“Recent events have drawn attention to systemic racism in museums across our country. With that in mind, we write to you to express our outrage at the current state of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, ”the letter read. “Our goal is to collectively voice our concerns and engage in building a fair and inclusive museum for our community.”
Updated at 8:26 a.m. on Friday to clarify that Morgan stepped down in July.