Topic: The censored record. What have art museums been doing to recover orclaim or promote the art of women or excluded ethnic groups or minorities (such as Blackor Latino artists in the USA)? Choose one group, state the problem and explore howmuseums have sought redress the memory of artists forgotten, ignored and excludedartists.
Most people want more honours and assets. We struggle to obtain the privileges. We compete with others to get better jobs and gain more money. Desire promotes social discriminations between the privileged classes and the social minorities. The authority tries to maintain the social systems and interrupts the minorities’ challenges. The minorities do not stop complaining about their societies. The societies will not solve their complaints and demands soon. Abraham Lincoln led the North army to the victory of the American Civil War, and the government abolished slavery in the 19th century. However, the African Americans did not finish the complaints about a better economic environments and education opportunities. They have been suffering to gain the rights for over 100 years after the Civil War. Many African Americans live in the underdeveloped regions now. Under capitalism and the regulations of the majorities, art exhibitions also became very sensitive places to mirror the social features. The museums involve both the radical and conservative senses. Although the museums are in the spheres of the majorities’ influences, many exhibitions display the black art to express the social conflicts and raise the racial issues of America. Not only do the art exhibitions govern the African American artists to take their identities, but also the museums display their art to encourage their cultures with the rights. The museums are appropriate institutions for the black artists because the artists have cultural benefits and protections in the exhibitions.
Damage and Disadvantages
Majority groups can use the art museums to promote their social authority. The museums include the business elements, such as art dealers and collectors. The museums struggle to increase their budgets for better exhibitions, so the curators try to increase the funds of their patrons and the government. The power from the money persuades the African American artists to become the workers for the majorities’ tastes. The black artists have the relationships with the majorities as labourers and company owners. As a result, the artists invent art techniques to express the issues. The artists use the whites’ stereotypes and the images against the conservative authority. The artworks show the blacks’ opinions about the white supremacy. The museums, which depend on the cultural policies and the budgets, make the complaints of the African American artists.
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Ott points out that the power of the white patrons stimulated the artists to create satirical and humorous expressions against the whites’ stereotypes. The Gordon Parks’s photograph, which is American Gothic, shows the American flag and the male model, who looks like a housekeeper. (Fig.1) The artwork suggests their complaints against unfair working opportunities of the government policy. Also, Prater and Smith note that Kehinde Wiley’s paintings criticize the social authority of the traditional museums. In his paintings, the poses and positions of the black males recall the traditional portraits and the modern street fashion, so the artworks make the audiences compare with the memories of when they visited the traditional museums and studied the royal collections. Parks and Wiley disagree with the political and cultural systems because the blacks cannot find their histories and their rights in the social institutions. They denounce whites’ capitalism, which produces the political and cultural supremacy.
The art museums can omit the cultures of the minority groups. Ose argues that the historical objects are abstract and flexible, so the historical interpretations reflect the social changes. Because the curators’ circumstances can permeate into their exhibitions, they have risks to pollute the minorities’ cultures. The curators make plans to display the artworks such as translating the historical backgrounds, the purposes, and the contents. The strategies and plans can control the realms of the cultures. According to the study by Rice, the exhibitions can lead moral controversies about excessive explanations and indiscreet omissions. Under the American history and the white curators, which the majorities produced, the exhibitions reduced and removed the black cultures in America. The museums misused their functions to define the cultures. The exhibitions became powerful weapons of the majorities to edit the cultures.
Kimmelman argues that Harlem on my Mind, which explained the African American history, was the controversial exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum in 1968. The article revealed that the curator, Thomas Hoving, hired Jews and refused to display African American artworks. According to the article by Arnold, Harlem on my Mind produced the racial arguments of the politicians and the journalists in American societies. The article explains the Negro communities damaged the paintings in the museum and protested the exhibition. Moreover, Wallace argues that Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC) resisted the exhibition, which is The 1930’s: painting & sculpture in America in Whitney Museum of American Art. They required the museum to display the African American artworks as well as hiring the black curators. The two exhibitions in 1960s suggest the cultural issues of the black artists.
Protection and Advantages
Exhibitions provide opportunities of the artists to meet the press and explain about their social injustices. The critics protect the artists from the abusing power and promote educations about their rights. The criticisms gather the public opinions and encourage the curators to create the balanced exhibitions. Mahony points out that the museums announce the social issues, and the art activities of the minorities lead attentions of the press and provide protections from the power of the majorities. The critics have keen senses to write the social articles such as the civil liberties and the racial discriminations. They analysis the artworks and support the museums to encourage the human rights. The art museums also reflect their criticisms and rectify the problems, so the critics help the museums preserve the value of the artworks. As a result, the artists can use the museums to explain their cultures and the identities.
The criticisms help the exhibitions identify the black history and make the art available to everyone. The fair exhibitions encourage the public to realize the past social issues and the current problems. Hylton criticizes that in London, their racial diversity leads the African American exhibitions successfully, but the audience can have the racial and historical views in the exhibitions. Also, Mercer argues the economic crisis of Detroit in 1960s made the white population rate become less than 20 percent, so Detroit Institute of Arts extended the African American art exhibitions to reflect the changes of their cultures and encourage to join unknown black artists. The journals offer the critical information about the exhibitions to the readers. Under their feedbacks, the public can get to know the racial issues. When the public studies the black art and makes plans to visit the exhibitions, they can refer the assessments. The museums and galleries also check the criticisms to improve their exhibitions. The journalists examine how the political and economic power affect the exhibitions. The balanced exhibitions provide the right information about the African American cultures. According to the article by Shaffer, the young generation feels responsibilities to learn the right historical knowledge and protect the records in the museums. After visiting the black art exhibitions, the students can learn the cultures and the identities. The museums can promote young human right activists and prevent the racial discriminations in the future. The critics encourage the right education of the exhibitions for the cultural diversification.
The museums find talented African American artists and make vigorous economic circulations between the majorities and the black societies. Toub points out that Jean Michel Basquiat did not receive the trainings of the official art schools, but the art marketers highly appreciated his artwork, which is Pegasus. If the black artist did not meet the curators, who knew the art trends, he could not show his artworks to many people in the world. The curators and art marketers helped him gain fame. Moreover, the famous black artists, such as Basquat and Wiley, can use their earnings to support cultural foundations for young African American artists. According to the article by Bey, Augusta Savage, who was a leader of the Harlem Artist Guild, promoted art curriculums to teach the African American identities. The foundations encourage the educations and exhibitions for young artists in the black societies. Harvey argues that depending on their budgets, the black artists choose suitable methods to produce their artworks. The art institutions make economical lectures and provide better studios and supplies. The educations can teach the economical ways to create their artworks. Because the students learn the various art techniques from the professional educators, they can invent many art expressions, which reflect their ideas well. Also, the famous curators can visit the institutions, so the artists can have opportunities to sell the artworks and become famous. The museums and the foundations can give their economic benefits.
The museums display the famous black artworks and develop tourism for the black communities. The artworks are popular in the world, and many foreigners come to the art museums in their societies, such as Brooklyn and Harlem, which have the higher rates of African Americans. The minority group can provide the special artists for the public. The public enjoys the black artists’ exhibitions. The artists use their cultural experiences to produce unique artworks. Mittelman points out that when museums display diverse cultures, the various communities share the new experiences in the exhibitions. Many people want to feel different cultures and see famous artworks. The exhibitions make the tourists spend money and improve the art industries in the black societies. The tourists need the traveling expenses to buy the artworks and souvenirs in the street markets. The development of the tourism can provide more works for the unknown black artists, so they can earn more salaries and living fees. The museums are the crucial resources to raise their economic conditions. Groys argues that their financial power gains strength when the institutions share their collections with the public. The economic benefits provide the connections between the art institutions and the public.
The museums display the various cultures. The exhibitions show the changes of the cultures and teach the values. Many black artists think the museum systems are not enough to explain their identities. They still feel the racial discriminations and the authority of the whites, but the press and the public prevent the majorities from abusing the power. The critics modify the stereotypes of the curators and art historians. Students also study the mistakes to avoid the same errors. The exhibitions explain the minorities’ opinions and their rights. The museums ask about the issues to the public and provide the spaces to educate the importance of the black cultures. They indicate the histories and revive their human rights. Moreover, many museums in the world display the black artworks. The popular black artists help their communities promote their economic profits. The art markets and the consumers provide the chances to experience divers art exhibitions and the cultures. The artists believe that their art is the cultural resources to keep the lives. The museums struggle to avoid the majorities’ power. The curators also study the black communities to develop the cultures. The museums will keep the efforts until the black rights is the same with the majorities’ rights.
- Arnold, M. ‘The Metropolitan Yields on ‘Racism’ In Show Catalogue’, New York Times, 18 January 1969, p.1.
- Bey, C ‘Augusta Savage: Sacrifice, Social Responsibility, and Early African American Art Education.’ Studies in Art Education, 58, no.2 (2017), pp.125-140.
- Groys, B. Art and Money., 2011 < https://www.e-flux.com/journal/24/67836/art-and-money/> [accessed 6 October 2018]
- Harvey, P. ‘The View from Now: Trends in the Idiom of Young African American Artists.’, International Review of African American Art, 22, no.22 (2008), pp.3-14.
- Hylton, R. 2013. ‘EXCLUSION ZONE.’ Art Monthly, October 2013, pp.7-10.
- Kimmelman, M. ‘Culture and Race: Still on America’s Mind’, New York Times, 19 November 1995, p.1.
- Knell, S. National galleries: the art of making nations (London: Routledge, 2016)
- Mahony, E. ‘The Uneasy Relationship of Self‐Critique in the Public Art Institution’, Curator: The Museum Journal, 59, no3 (2016), pp.219-238.
- Mercer, V. J. ‘IN THE CARE OF THE COLOSSUS AFRICAN AMERICAN COLLECTIONS WITHIN MAJOR MUSEUMS’, The International Review of African American Art, 21 no4 (2006), pp.15-21.
- Mittelman, K. ‘Museums in the Age of Social And how to support them’, HUMANITIES, 37, no2 (2016), pp.1-4.
- O’Brien, E. Modern Art in Africa, Asia and Latin America: An Introduction to Global Modernisms (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
- Ose, E. D. A story within story (Stockholm: Art and Theory, 2015)
- Ott, J. ‘Labored Stereotypes: Palmer Hayden’s “The Janitor Who Paints”’, The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 22, no.1 (2008), pp.102-115.
- Rice, F. ‘National Museum of African American History and Culture: A New Integration?’, Curator: The Museum Journal, 60, no.2 (2017), pp.249-258.
- Shaffer, S ‘Opening the Doors: Engaging Young Children in the Art Museum.’ Art education, 64, no.6 (2011), pp.40-46.
- Prater, P. and Smith, R. M. ‘Seeing Double: Kehinde Wiley’s Portraits.’, Art Education, 68 no.6 (2015), pp.46-53.
- Toub, J. ‘In and Out of the Margins: The Doodle in Art and Popular Culture’, Southeastern College Art Conference Review, 16, no.4 (2014), pp.472-484.
- Wallace, C. V. ‘Exhibiting Authenticity: The Black Emergency Cultural Coalition’s Protests of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1968–71’, Art Journal, 74, no.2 (2010), pp.5-23.
Fig. 1, Gordon Parks, American Gothic, 1942, photograph.
 John Ott, ‘Labored Stereotypes: Palmer Hayden’s “The Janitor Who Paints”’, The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 22, no.1 (2008), pp.102-115.
 Ibid., p.108.
 Paige Prater and Rachel May Smith, ‘Seeing Double: Kehinde Wiley’s Portraits.’, Art Education, 68 no.6 (2015), p.46.
 Elvira Dyangani Ose, A story within story (Stockholm: Art and Theory, 2015), p.167.
 Faun Rice, ‘National Museum of African American History and Culture: A New Integration?’, Curator: The Museum Journal, 60, no.2 (2017), p.253.
 Michael Kimmelman, ‘Culture and Race: Still on America’s Mind’, New York Times, 19 November 1995, p.1.
 Martin Arnold, ‘The Metropolitan Yields on ‘Racism’ In Show Catalogue’, New York Times, 18 January 1969, p.1.
 Caroline V. Wallace, ‘Exhibiting Authenticity: The Black Emergency Cultural Coalition’s Protests of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1968–71’, Art Journal, 74, no.2 (2010), pp.5-23.
 Emma Mahony, ‘The Uneasy Relationship of Self‐Critique in the Public Art Institution’, Curator: The Museum Journal, 59, no3 (2016), p.222.
 Richard Hylton, 2013. EXCLUSION ZONE. Art Monthly, October 2013, p.7.
 Valerie J. Mercer, ‘IN THE CARE OF THE COLOSSUS AFRICAN AMERICAN CLLECTIONS WITHIN MAJOR MUSEUMS’, The International Review of African American Art, 21 no4 (2006), p.16.
 Sharon Shaffer, ‘Opening the Doors: Engaging Young Children in the Art Museum.’ Art education, 64, no.6 (2011), p.46.
 Jim Toub, ‘In and Out of the Margins: The Doodle in Art and Popular Culture’, Southeastern CollegeArt Conference Review, 16, no.4 (2014), p.482.
 Charif Bey, ‘Augusta Savage: Sacrifice, Social Responsibility, and Early African American Art Education.’ Studies in Art Education, 58, no.2 (2017), p.139.
 Phillip Harvey, ‘The View from Now: Trends in the Idiom of Young African American Artists.’, International Review of African American Art, 22, no.22 (2008), p.3.
 Karen Mittelman, ‘Museums in the Age of Social And how to support them’, HUMANITIES, 37, no2 (2016), p.2.
 Boris Groys, Art and Money., 2011 < https://www.e-flux.com/journal/24/67836/art-and-money/> [accessed 6 October 2018]
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