Changing the Things I Cannot Accept: Museums Are Not Neutral

October 15, 2017 at 4:54 pm 3 comments


“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” – Angela Davis

img_20171002_133324_136144247311.jpg

Over the past 10 years I’ve worked in various positions at different art museums. For years, often I’ve been not only the only African-American person, but the only person of color, at institutional meetings. Yes, I meant that – years. Many times when I proposed programming centered on issues of racial inequality, white co-workers told me that the museum had to maintain a neutral stance or that my ideas sounded “political.” So they pushed aside my proposals. Each time I encountered that attitude, it was an attack on my body, my presence, my mind.

I have always known that museums are not neutral. They have never have been neutral. I would hope that our colleagues know that museums originate from colonialist endeavors. They are about power. As I have shared on social media networks, if anyone comes as me with that neutrality mess, I will take them down. I have had it with that narrow-minded perspective that ignores history and enables museums to operate as racist, sexist, and classist spaces.

A couple of months ago Mike Murawski and I started discussing this neutrality defense on Twitter. At some point he tweeted “museums are not neutral.” I answered, “that should be on t-shirt.” Not long after that exchange Mike wrote me and said let’s do just that. I’m so glad he did. Along with the hundreds of people who have supported our project, we’ve sparked critical discussion with our colleagues in museums, academic institutions, and broader publics. Also, we have raised over $5,000 for the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that has lead social justice initiatives for decades.

I’m proud to do this work with all of you who center justice.

[A few days ago, thanks to my friend Mike Murawski, I shared a version of this statement with colleagues attending the Museums as a Site of Social Action, #MassActionMIA, gathering in Minneapolis.]

***********
If you would like to join us in making a statement against the myth of museum neutrality, please consider purchasing one of our Museums Are Not Neutral t-shirts. Proceeds support the Southern Poverty Law Center. https://www.bonfire.com/museums-are-not-neutral/ 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Art.

Museums Are Not Neutral: Wear It Across Your Heart  Taking Back Our Museums: #MuseumsAreNotNeutral Continues

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Adera Causey  |  October 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Thank you for giving us a way to wear what we’ve all been speaking out for so many years! (and for giving me the perfect gift for my department)

    Reply
    • 2. artstuffmatters  |  October 15, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Yes, we’re out here and we’ve been here. Now we’re making it really clear for folks by wearing the truth across our hearts. Thank you for supporting our initiative!

      Reply
  • […] Changing the Things I Cannot Accept: Museums Are Not Neutral, by La Tanya S. Autry, Artstuffmatters …, October 15, 2017 […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


artstuffmatters

Artstuffmatters focuses on public culture in the arts- public art, photography, landscapes, museums, and more.

Search by Date

October 2017
S M T W T F S
« Aug   Nov »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Tweets on ArtStuff

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,535 other followers

Flickr Photos


%d bloggers like this: