Arts

Recent news and conversations

This growing list features some of the dialogues happening around issues of diversity in the arts. Check back for frequently updated content. To suggest a resource, email diversity@meca.edu.

Artists Making News

Tyler Mitchell Wants to Make You Feel Good
The young photographer shares five highlights from his first solo exhibition, featuring intimate portraits of black life.

Rediscovering the Black Muses Erased from Art History
Is there anything left to say about Édouard Manet’s Olympia, the 1863 painting widely viewed as the origin point of modern art? According to art historian Denise Murrell, there is one line of inquiry, at least, that has gone almost entirely overlooked.

37 Artists Native to the Americas Weave Stories of Migration and Geography
In a time of bald-faced white supremacy and discrimination, the Nebraska exhibition Monarchs feels vitally relevant.

Analyzing Race and Gender Bias Amid All the News That’s Fit to Print
“Ms. Bell, 34, a Chicago native, is an African-American artist straddling two worlds dominated by white men: media and art. Though there are writers and journalists who applaud her analytical approach to deconstructing news, Ms. Bell noted, there are people in the arts who are more cautious.”

Quilts as Tools for Resistance
Embedded in this year’s QuiltCon, which featured over 350 works, were acts of protest.

Native American women artists finally get their due in new Minneapolis exhibition
“At least 90% of the Native American art in all museum collections was made by women, according to Jill Ahlberg Yohe, the associate curator of Native American art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. But that fact, as well as recognition of the individual artists, has been missing from institutional narratives, which typically present Native works as representative of entire cultures.”

Queer Muslim Artists Are Beyond A “Movement”
A queer Islam “movement” has been happening for decades—the art establishment seems to be just catching on.

Front and Center: Celebrating Black Comics and Their Creators
This New York Times article about the Black Comic Book Festival features a brief interview with one of the festival’s founders and references the documentary film, White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in Comic Books.

Four Black Creatives on the Importance of Building and Cultivating Community
The creative technology industry has a diversity problem. How to solve it?

The Radical Work of Women Artists in Latin America from 1960 to ‘85
Radical Women shares the work of 120 Latin American and Latina artists from 15 different countries during times of intense political and social unrest.

Art Institutions

Case Studies in Museum Diversity
This case studies series, to be published between January – April 2018, sets out to understand and share strategies for addressing underrepresentation at an array of art museums.

Provocative Nat Turner-Inspired Portraits Fuel Debate After Their Removal
Following an employee complaint, Stephen Towns removed his paintings from his solo show at Rosenberg Gallery. The decision has since inspired some much-needed dialogue.

Musée d’Orsay Puts Focus on Overlooked and Anonymous Black Models in French Masterpieces
Black models: from Géricault to Matisse temporarily retitles works featuring historically anonymous Black models to honor their sitters.

Indigenous Art Code
The Indigenous Art Code is a system to preserve and promote ethical trading in Indigenous art.

With New Urgency, Museums Cultivate
Curators of Color

For decades the country’s mainstream art museums have excluded people of color — from their top leadership to the curators who create shows to the artists they display on their walls.

Is Google’s Arts And Culture App Racist?
“While Google seems to be able to pull eerily accurate matches from the 70,000 artworks belonging to its partner institutions for white people, the results have been markedly limited and sometimes outright offensive for people of color, and in particular Asian people.”

Art Institute postpones major Native American pottery exhibit
In a move museum leadership is calling unprecedented, the Art Institute of Chicago has postponed a major exhibition weeks before its opening because of concerns over insufficient inclusion of the voices of indigenous peoples in the presentation.

Decolonization & Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation: A Roundtable
Artforum invites a distinguished group of artists and scholars—Salome Asega, Homi K. Bhabha, Gregg Bordowitz, Joan Kee, Ajay Kurian, and Jacolby Satterwhite—to join editor Michelle Kuo in examining the urgent and omnipresent politics of representation, appropriation, and power.

Is Damien Hirst’s Latest Series a Ripoff of an Aboriginal Australian Artist?
Some say Damien Hirst’s latest “Veil Paintings” are strikingly similar to works by Emily Kame Kngwarreye and other female Aboriginal artists.

Steps Towards Decolonizing Craft
“Craft artists have a long history of looking elsewhere for inspiration. This becomes problematic when considering the baggage of our colonial gaze.”

Cultural Appropriation and Oppression
“The wrong of cultural appropriation is rooted in imbalances of power. Whether a particular case is most saliently understood as one of silencing, exploitation, misrepresentation, or offense, what ultimately makes particular instances of cultural appropriation wrongful, and thus what grounds objections to them, is the way in which they manifest and/or exacerbate inequality and marginalization. Call this the oppression account of cultural appropriation.”

The Appropriation Debates
The essay discusses appropriation, the Dana Schutz painting Open Casket, and Sam Durant’s Scaffold.

How do you buy Indigenous Australian art ethically?
“There’s a right way and a morally dubious way of buying art in Alice Springs. Here’s how to support artists and the art centres that are building communities.”

Sightlines on Cultural Appropriation In Our Libraries and Communities
This recorded session webinar examines cultural appropriation as understood in art and design school and university libraries and communities in North America.

Bhabha/Wilson/Rasheed: A Conversation on Cultural Appropriation, Representation and Free Speech
Postcolonial scholar and Harvard professor Homi Bhabha and artists Fred Wilson and Kameelah Janan Rasheed contributed to this RISD panel discussion on the ethics and aesthetics of cultural appropriation, the ideals and limits of free speech and the politics of representation in the US today.

Arts & Entertainment

‘Black Panther’ Costume Designer Draws On ‘The Sacred Geometry Of Africa’
“Designer Ruth Carter — whose previous films include Selma, Malcolm X and Roots — pulled colors, shapes, jewelry, and textures from tribes all over Africa.”

Unpacking the Fictional Japan of Isle of Dogs
Wes Anderson’s film uses elements of the country’s language and culture to create a fraught sense of unfamiliarity.

Tyrus Wong, ‘Bambi’ Artist Thwarted by Racial Bias, Dies at 106
“When Walt Disney’s ‘Bambi’ opened in 1942, critics praised its spare, haunting visual style, vastly different from anything Disney had done before. But what they did not know was that the film’s striking appearance had been created by a Chinese immigrant artist.”