Reimagining the Museum: Open Letters and a Decolonial Framework
The first in a series of conversations responding to the national call for equitable, just, and anti-racist practices within museums and art institutions.
In the midst of a global pandemic, which has caused mass furloughs and layoffs, and the growing movement for Black lives sparked by the violent and unjust police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others, art and cultural workers are calling for an end to systemic racism, anti-blackness, and structural injustices within art institutions and museums across the nation. Artists, curators, educators, frontline staff, art conservators, and others are using public-facing strategies such as open letters to demand the resignation of leaders, defunding the police, diversification of staff and collections, and an overall acknowledgment of practices that uphold colonialism and white supremacy within art spaces.
In order to examine the questions and demands that seek to provide a decolonial framework for the future of art spaces, this conversation examines three texts that were recently crafted and signed specifically by Black artworkers. Hammer curator Erin Christovale moderates a conversation between artist Jasmine Gregory, representative from Black Artists and Cultural Workers in Switzerland; art conservator LaStarsha McGarity, representative from Black Art Conservators; and Yesomi Umolu, director and curator of Logan Center Exhibitions at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, and author of “On the Limits of Care and Knowledge: 15 Points Museums Must Understand to Dismantle Structural Injustice.”
About Reimagining the Museum
Reimagining the Museum is an ongoing series of conversations initiated by the Hammer Museum in response to the call for the dismantling of colonial and racist histories in cultural institutions. Organized with the goal of providing a forum for these issues at a moment of enormous change within our field, these convenings are intended as a way of having a productive conversation in public about the history and future of museums.