NPR

Not Enough Color In American Art Museums

A new curator has been named to oversee the Brooklyn Museum's collection of African art. She's got an impressive resume, but she's white, and that's fueling a larger debate about diversity in museums.
Brooklyn Museum, New York City Source: Jupiterimages

The current furor over the Brooklyn Museum's appointment of a white woman to oversee the museum's African Art collection is not surprising or infuriating to Steven Nelson. Nelson is an African American art historian at UCLA who specializes in African art, and he says, "There are very few of us in the field."

Despite the public assumption that most African art curators in the US are of African descent, Nelson points out, "in the United States, the field is largely made up of white people—and most of those people are female." So the appointment of Kristen Windmuller-Luna was, for Nelson, business as usual.

But some Brooklynites are pushing back. A coalition of community activist organizations, Decolonize This Place, sent a to the museum. The group urged management to rethink

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