One of the great qualities of art is that it can transcend social, political, and ethnic divisions in appealing to the aesthetic and concepts of beauty or meaning. While the backgrounds and periods of artists often inform the viewing of their work, it is the art not the artist that it is focus most people. The Baltimore Museum of Art, however, cannot separate the race of the artist from the art. It is selling masterpieces by white painters to buy art of non-white artists in a move that its own director, Christopher Bedford calls “an unusual and radical act to take.” This will include work by by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and other masterpieces because the artists are white.
Bedford calls this a “transformative” moment that reflects the fact that “the most important artists working today, in my view, are black Americans.”
Bedford came on board in 2016 as the 10th director at the museum — replacing a director who led the museum for 17 years.