People Aren't Thrilled About the Brooklyn Museum's Decision to Hire a White Person as Curator of African Art
"People from the African Diaspora are frustrated with white people being gatekeepers of our narrative."
The Brooklyn Museum has come under fire after news spread earlier this week of its appointment of a white curator for African art.
Though it was initially believed that the museum had hired two white curators for their African art department, in a press release from earlier this month, the museum announced that it had brought on Kristen Windmuller-Luna as the Sills Family Consulting Curator of African art department and Drew Sawyer as the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography—not of "African" photography as many had thought. The news spread after it was reported by the BK Reader on Monday.
As the new curator of the museum's African art department, Windmuller-Luna will "assess and rethink the Brooklyn Museum's extensive holdings of African art, which is comprised of more than 6,000 objects, and organize an innovative, freshly conceived temporary installation," stated the press release.
The news of her appointment did not sit well with many online who expressed frustration with the art world's history of racism and elitism, and who believe the position should have gone to someone of African descent. To many, the museum's decision highlights the discriminatory hiring processes which take opportunities away from qualified black people and—in cases like these—allow white people to maintain control over black narratives and culture.
While some pointed out that Windmuller-Luna's educational background and resume make her uniquely qualified for the job—she holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in art and archaeology from Princeton University and her B.A. in the history of art from Yale University—others find it hard to believe that there was not one equally qualified black candidate.
Of course, folks are also making references to Black Panther—clearly the Brooklyn museum missed the main takeaway from Killmonger's museum scene, and perhaps the entire film in general.
OkayAfrica has reached out to the Brooklyn Museum for comment.