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密西西比州杰克逊的艺术博物馆,Mississippi (image by Tate Nations; all images courtesy the Mississippi Museum of Art)

During the pandemic and what seems to be a reawakening of our country’s recognition of its foundation in racism, art museum directors have been talking to each other, far more regularly than normal. This is happening thanks to the leadership of艺术博物馆董事协会而且,在我的地区,东南部博物馆会议。同事们在一起解决了关闭我们的设施的问题,减少(或否)收入时的金融可持续性,并计划重新打开设施一直带给我们慷慨的计划,社区感,以及轻微的感觉控制自己的命运。

However, since George Floyd’s murder, our times together have been less fruitful. There has been a rush to deliver statements of solidarity, to project our self-perceived lack of racism. We’ve talked about white fragility and plans to diversify staff and boardrooms. Some of us have reported that we are mounting exhibitions about Black artists and experiences. We post pictures of acquisitions of artworks by African-American artists. These actions all have us assuming a defensive posture. In other words, we are almost embarrassingly begging a world that is moving rapidly towards important, irreversible, and necessary change to let us survive because we promise to adapt.


我是一个白色,女性主任,在南部的一个博物馆,处于一个具有基础种族主义的遗产的国家,这些种族主义的遗产创造了一个偷走的土地和被盗劳动力的大型有利可图的经济体系,一个剥夺了自然资源的地方被我们土地丰富的人被遗弃,这是一个太容易和经常被驳回为种族主义的来源而不是它的幸存者。我与我的同事们一起工作,并与我的社区一起努力反思关于我们与社会经济基础设施勾结并受益的方式,让许多自己的邻居没有获得教育,医疗保健和经济繁荣我们的宪法承诺了他们。而且,我们一直在员工 - 广泛和受托人的培训培训,隐含偏见,白脆性和继承的创伤,我们仍有很多工作要做。我们必须估计,不仅与我们的机构及其做法,而且对自己而言。

Titus Kaphar,“比棉花”(2017)油在帆布上。63 x 36英寸密西西比艺术博物馆的集合;画廊Guild,Inc。的礼物,2018年(©Titus Kaphar)

What rigors do we need to put ourselves through so that we become the leaders our institutions need and deserve in our new reality? To ask this question requires time spent in the kind of contemplative space that the pressure-cooker of a pandemic makes difficult, if not impossible to carve out. So, the work we have ahead of us will not be easy. But the alignment of a museum director’s personal values with the values that museum espouses must always come first — and it must be authentic. Through my own mistakes and missteps, I have learned that unless one is willing to reckon constantly with her own personal values and to accept that inclusion is a muscle to be worked and not a credential to be burnished, then real structural change can’t be achieved.


After we reckon with ourselves, instead of only asking how to integrate our structures, perhaps then we will have the courage to talk together about the question that is really keeping us up at night: does our industry, in its current form, truly matter?

如果没有,那么我们爱的博物馆会死亡,痛苦的死亡,我们的职业生涯将成为打字机修理或电话运营商的方式,或者 - 在它 - 奴隶经纪人上留下野蛮的痛苦点。如果我们只按照我们的收购的数量和价值训练我们训练的博物馆,我们衡量了我们的成功,并且由支付偷看我们宝藏的人数,我们是否真的有权占用真实当我们的世界要求我们对新职业的关注,向新牧羊人的公共安全,向公平分配的医疗护理时,我们的庄园和薪金

The question, then, is not what do we say, but are we relevant?

三年前,试图在我们的社区中解决这个问题,密西西比艺术博物馆的员工和受托人开始建立一个新的结构,让我们在这种变革道路上。艺术中心和公共交易所(CAPE)对赛事和股权问题的激光相似。这种定罪渗透着我们的所有工作:展览,收藏,人员配置,董事会开发,资源开发。金博宝188app它要求困难,诚实的谈话。它优先考虑艺术家以及我们的邻居和居民 - 那些了解他们身体种族不公平问题的人,而不仅仅是在他们的脑海中。和海角正在改变我们。不可避免地,它将我们带到了关于权力的对话,因为 - 在一天结束时 - 这就是对股权的对话。

这不是谈话艺术博物馆馆长are typically trained to have. We are trained to defend the importance of our collections, our scholarship, and our intellectual investigations into aesthetic traditions borne out in exhibitions of exquisitely hand-made objects, objects that transcend the limits of human frailty and somehow connect us to a more divinely ordered universe than the one that invades our very homes with germs we cannot see. This is the magic of the art museum. This is the institution I love so much that I drag my family on vacations into the small, idiosyncratic, and large, encyclopedic museums that connect me with provocative ideas, insanely beautiful objects, and give me a moment to reflect on my own humanity. And I love a beautifully curated gallery. When a curator finds previously unknown connections between artists or artworks or traditions and links them together into a meaningful whole, I find myself in the place of one who discovers a secret of cosmic harmony, even if just for that hour.

But as much as I love museums and want them to be there for me for the rest of my days, I am ready to imagine a new way of experiencing the artworks they hold. I hope that my colleagues will join me in asking not only “What do museums need to do to adapt to this moment?” but also, “What is the moment teaching us about our institution’s place in the world?”

What is our reason for being? What does an art museum look like in a post-colonial world? How are we complicit in a power dynamic that may preclude honesty and reckoning from entering our deliberations? In other words, how do we reprioritize our museums’ missions, so that community care comes first? How do we join this movement that is, indeed, changing our world?

James Reid Lambdin, “Delia” (ca. 1840-1849) oil on canvas, 35 x 25.5 inches, collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, purchased with funds from the Gallery Guild, Inc., 2018

In their provocative book,艺术as Therapy,Alain de Botton和John Armstrong建议,“自二十世纪初以来,我们与艺术的关系被深刻的制度不愿意解决了艺术的问题。”作者提出了一种激进的重新转换策展训练和博物馆结构,以优先考虑艺术品提供的治疗,邀请我们记住,爱,哀悼和成长。


密西西比州是一个催化对被奴役的人的人的法律障碍解散的地方。这是自20世纪60年代以来的第一次,当时我觉得真正举起的东西可能辜负了纸张eons yonsi前所承诺的自由和正义。艺术博物馆可以提醒我们美丽,创造性的表达和与纯粹的喜悦和解放的关系。他们也可以重新想象自己。让我们提出正确的问题并拥抱这一刻提供的变更。





Betsy Bradley

Betsy Bradleyhas been the director of the Mississippi Museum of Art since 2001. Previously, she directed the Mississippi Arts Commission.


  1. Wait, we’re moving towards irreversible change that is ALSO necessary? Who is, where? And for whom? It’s easy to imagine the swift dismantling of centuries-old structures when you’ve not had to bear the brunt of them.

    I think one of the early hurdles that will be encountered by those undergoing “personal reckoning” is confronting how steadfastly the hallmarks of hopelessness are embedded in the day to day realities of their “neighbors without access to the education, health care, and economic prosperity that our Constitution promises them”, and how these same systemic inequities have heretofore evaded their cognizance.

  2. 艺术is art. The past. The present. The future. What was created over a 100 or more years is different than what is created today and tomorrow. Times have changed and so has the person who goes to see the art.This is the new world we live in for 2020. You can go to a museum to learn about the art, the artists and that period of time. It might be different than our life today. So, a museum is there for history and learning. We don’t need to demolish it. ALSO, what a museum looks like here in the US is different than a museum is over seas. I have lived and worked in Asia and Europe for decades. A Museum in those locations is different than what we have here. Different artists, different work and a different concept. Take time to look, think and discuss. Share ideas and how we can all move forward.

  3. 由于这篇文章和播客对金博宝188惠特尼的最新争议的过度竞争感。“...包含是一种肌肉,而不是凭借被抛售的凭证,”谐振。还是“在殖民地世界在殖民世界中看起来像什么艺术博物馆?”This because it’s one of the first times we’ve come across the term post-colonial used in a global sense rather than the narrow one we hear it used in normally–that is as a field of studies only relevant to countries and societies that once were colonized. In fact postcoloniality implicates the colonizing countries (the originators of acquisitive museum culture) as well and so, is a global condition, as noted here. Both the essay and the podcast immediately brought to mind the impasse at the International Council of Museums over a new definition or mandate for museums. The quarrel is primarily over whether museums have a social and political role in addition to the usual aesthetic ones. As the NYT put it “…these disagreements reflect a wider split in the museum world about whether such institutions should be places that exhibit and research artifacts, or ones that actively engage with political and social issues.” The current Whitney controversy is a striking example of what happens when Museums attempt to breach their walls engage with thorny contemporary issues. I completely agree we need to foster “a community of trust that forgives missteps and gently challenges well-intended misunderstandings” rather than resort to the much more easily deployable ‘cancel culture’.