Brooklyn Museum Under Fire For Hiring White Curator For African Art Collection

imagesThere is an interesting controversy in New York where people are irate that Brooklyn Museum selected a distinguished academic as curator over its African art collection.  Kristen Windmuller-Luna, 31, holds a Ph.D. in African art history from Princeton University and has been a lecturer at Columbia University and Metropolitan Museum of Art. That is a pretty stellar resume but people are focused on one other aspect about Windmuller-Luna . . . she is white.  Rather than respond that it does not select curators or artists on the basis of the race, the Museum issued a pleading response that it is seeking to address the complaints.  However, the complaint is that, no matter how qualified Windmuller-Luna may be, she should have been barred due to her race from consideration.

Commentators had no qualms about objecting entirely on the basis of race — refusing to consider the qualifications of Windmuller-Luna are relevant.  The museum tweeted:

“We have been listening closely to the debate about our recent appointments to our curatorial team. We’re listening and we hear you. As we think about ways to engage in this conversation with the care it deserves, we want to assure you that you can count on us, as ever, to continue working deeply on equity within our institution and beyond.”

What precisely does that mean?  Is the museum saying that will make future appointments based on race?  African American art is precisely that: art.  It is a field of study and a genre that transcends race.  There is no reason why a white academic would not be the best candidate based on her publications and ideas on curating this collection.  Would these same critics object to an African-American being selected as curator over a Dutch art collection or school composed of Whites or Asians or other racial groups?  The beauty of art is its transcendence.  It joins us all in appreciating the visual expression.

73 thoughts on “Brooklyn Museum Under Fire For Hiring White Curator For African Art Collection”

  1. She should announce publicly that she self identifies herself as being black. Use the liberals twisted logic against them.

  2. The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis manages to stumble on without a Russian as director.

    Jeez.

    1. David Benson – I LOVE The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis. My picture of it on Google has 80,000 hits. 🙂

      1. It sounds beautiful. I’d like to see it some day.

        Is it still legal to view Russian art, or will visitors be interrogated by the FBI for interference in art appreciation?

        1. Karen S – when I was there, it was a mix of Stalinist art and more modern painting as well as some that pre-dated the Revolution. It is a relatively small space so there is limited wall space and the collection rotates. They repurposed an old church.

  3. By the logic used for this complaint, I would suggest that any person of color or asian heritage should not be able to perform compositions created by western europeans, Continuing with that logic, no one of other than asian heritage should work as a cook in a chinese restaurant,

    We have taken serious racial discrimination claims and made them unworthy of serious consideration when we bundle such acts with this picayune ankle-biting.

  4. So, “the complaint is that, no matter how qualified Windmuller-Luna may be, she should have been barred due to her race from consideration.”

    This is equivalent to saying that insane should be running the asylums.

    . . . Wait a minute. . . . I think they already are.

  5. One of my inside sources tells me that the Brooklyn Museum has quietly solicited resumes from African Art experts who are actually African. However, there may be a snafu or two in that as many Africans hate people from other tribes. Supposedly, here is a recent email to the Museum, that my source snuck out at great risk, which illustrates this point. From what I can gather, the Lou Nuer Tribe and the Murles do not like each other.

    Dear Brooklyn Museum

    How are you? Fine I hope. I hear you are firing White Lady Curator of African Art, and I wish to place my name, one Joseph Akimbo, into running for job. Attached is my recent award winning editorial in Lou Nuer Daily Drummer newspaper.

    I hope you like! As you can see, I am very astute student of African Art!

    Sincerely,

    Joseph Akimbo

    An Analysis of So-Called Murle Art

    by Joseph Akimbo

    What could one expect from Murle Art? If it is not carved from the dung of cows, then it is stolen from the homes of Lou Nuer peoples! All Murle trash art should be stomped on and broken, and shards placed in mouths of Murle corpses!

    Brooklyn Museum of America should be burned to ground for showing Murle cow dung! They raid cattle of Lou Nuer Tribe, and steal virgins! Would Jew Museum show art of the German Nazis I ask you? Then why should Brooklyn Museum show Murle Art? You want see good Murles??? Then cross dry river into Jonglei and see burnt villages and dead Murles!

    This is art that Lou Neur Tribe specialize in! Dead Murles!

    Joseph Akimbo
    Art Critic

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. As a Black man who lived through the King and riot years , I find it ironic that WE do not see the foolishness of such a demand. ALL people want the Best Doctor, lawyer, Dentist, Accountant, Teacher, College, Mechanic, ectera that we can find. I wonder if those whose complaint about this woman is based Solely on her color; would make color the primary component in THEIR selection of a Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist ectera.

  7. BTW, here is the web page with pictures for what I think is this exhibit:

    https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/collections/21

    It is pretty cool. Here is a power figure:

    https://d1lfxha3ugu3d4.cloudfront.net/images/opencollection/objects/size2/56.6.98_front_PS6.jpg

    Power Figure (Nkisi Nkondi)
    Arts of Africa
    An nkisi nkondi serves as a container for potent ingredients used in magic and medicine, and in judicial and healing contexts. To make an nkisi nkondi, a carver begins by sculpting a human or animal figure with a cavity in the abdomen; then a ritual expert completes the work by placing ingredients with supernatural powers on the object and in the cavity provided. He activates the figure by breathing into the cavity and immediately seals it off with a mirror. Nails and blades are driven into the figure, either to affirm an oath or to destroy an evil force. The figure’s pose suggests that it may once have been carrying a knife or spear.

    There is a “show more” button at the bottom of the page!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  8. And, this naive statement from the above article:

    African American art is precisely that: art. It is a field of study and a genre that transcends race.

    Huh. First, I don’t think it is “African American” art that is the subject, but “African” art. From Africa. Or, there wold be a bunch of black velvet paintings of Lions and Tigers and Zebras, and Bongo Drums, and stuff.

    Next, HUH??? Have you never heard of Gleichschaltung??? It was the process of Nazification by which Nazi Germany successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of society, “from the economy and trade associations to the media, culture and education”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleichschaltung

    Expecting Art to just be Art, is as juvenile as expecting The Late Show to be about Comedy and News, instead of a constant pro-DNC Narrative. It is as jejune as expecting the Oscars and Grammys to be free of political content.

    No, in our current times, nearly everything in the Media is about promoting the Democratic Party. Everything must bend to the whole silly White Privilege and Institutionalized Racism Narrative.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

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