After the injustice of George Floyd’s murder, the art world also underwent a racial reckoning. As one esteemed Black Curator Dr. Madeleine Haddon, of V&A East in London said, “it is of the utmost importance to me to pave the way for future generations of people of color to know that they belong within museums,” she said, “not only as visitors but as directors, curators, educators and more.”
In 2017, the National Endowment for the Arts commissioned a survey which “found that 27% of adults in the US had visited a museum or gallery over the previous year, compared with 17% of Black adults.”
Medium pointed this out, discussing “the simultaneous exclusion and exploitation of Blackness in so-called intellectual spaces…And [how] in museums, Blackness is often categorized under the ‘history’ label, while Whiteness is categorized as ‘high art’ — one that sometimes glamorizes the ownership of Black people.”
Exhibit by exhibit, the narrative is changing, and ESSENCE has curated a list of seven must-see exhibits with Black organizers and curators for you to check out this year.
Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility, organized by Ashley James
In the Black Fantastic, curated by Ekow Eshun
Black American Portraits, co-curated by Liz Andrews
Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass, organized by Valerie Cassel Oliver
A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, curated by Ryan N. Dennis and Jessica Bell Brown
Projects: Ming Smith, organized by Thelma Golden and Oluremi C. Onabanjo
Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition, originally organized by the Black newspaper Chicago Defender’s staffers and local artists.