For the brief fall return of the Questioning Everything Podcast, the first episode back is all about the museum and art industries and whether players today can ever truly dismantle the racism, sexism, classism, and many other isms that have plagued those industries... basically forever.
To ensure I wasn't just talking out of my anger as an Nigerian-American who has seen the art of her native country in museums throughout the world, I thought it might be best to bring in some folks who work in both the museum and art industries. I have been fortunate to know three incredibly brilliant, talented, and fiercely outspoken individuals in different sectors of these cultural worlds that were willing to share their past and current experiences with me.
Meet Celeste Carandang who works at the University of Chicago where she received her master’s in Art History and where she oversees activities related to a Mellon Grant the institution received nearly two years prior.
Next up, you'll get to hear from Joe Sherren who has 7 years of experience working in small museums and historic houses as a Collections Manager and is an Adjunct Professor in Information Studies. Joe received his master’s in Art History from George Mason University.
Last but certainly not least, meet Mallory Ruymann, a Jane of all art trades who is an art historian, curator, art advisor, writer, and works as an Art Business Consultant to art galleries, art studios, and art organizations. In addition to these many positions and roles, Mallory is the Principal and Head of Curatorial Projects at a firm called Art Works. Mallory received her master’s in Art History from Tufts University.
These talented folks sat down with me and helped me (and hopefully some of QEP's listeners) understand the upheaval taking place within the Arts. Of course, the art world is no where near where it needs to be in terms of returning cultural artifacts that were stolen back to their native lands, properly compensating people of color, women and indigenous artists for their art, or fully reckoning with the racist and classist pasts that have allowed many art houses, museums, and artists to flourish.
BUT, there is a light at the end of this arts tunnel that appears to be catalyzed by artists, art historians, and curators who value an art future that is equitable and honest about its dark and abusive past. Thanks to Mallory, I checked out an interesting article by a movement known as Cancel Galleries about these efforts to improve the art world for the better.
I highly recommend you give it a read here. In addition, I've provided a few more links and names of groups below that can help you get up to speed on what's happening within the arts industry and art higher education that are worth taking note of:
Galleries run by people of color, such as Commonwealth and Council or Housing Gallery, are not only widely admired for their commitment to queer artists and artists of color but also for prioritizing their community over commercial success.
Deli Gallery - NY, Praise Shadows - Boston, MA
Interpreting LGBTQ in the historical sites - https://www.nps.gov/articles/lgbtqtheme-interpreting.htm
The “Rich Gay”? Small Museums & Funding “Difficult” History by Kelsey Brow & Joshua Buckner: https://curatorjournal.org/virtual-issues/the-rich-gay-small-museums-funding-difficult-history/
MD Humanities - The Power of LGBTQ Storytelling: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-su987-d818ae?utm_campaign=w_share_ep&utm_medium=dlink&utm_source=w_share
LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/lgbtqheritage/upload/lgbtqtheme-interpreting.pdf
IG accounts to check out:
Cancel Art Galleries: https://www.instagram.com/cancelartgalleries/?hl=en
Change the Museum: https://www.instagram.com/changethemuseum/?hl=en
Higher education links: