Women First at the Baltimore Art Museum

Make no mistake, the neoclassical facade of the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), set for a century in one of the upscale neighborhoods of this city in Maryland, says little about its walls.Besides its exceptional collection of paintings by Matisse, the BMA, a cultural institution in one of the poorest and most violent cities in the region, is rather known for its daring initiatives.

The most recent bears the label “positive discrimination”, perfectly assumed by its director, Christopher Bedford: in 2020, he will only buy works made by women.A “radical” gesture intended to “raise awareness, change the 'image of the institution and correct a historical imbalance' in the museum's collection, he told the Baltimore Sun.

Sale of paintings by three white men

In 2018, the sale of paintings by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Franz Kline - three white men - for $ 8 million enabled the BMA to buy works by artists, men and women, from ethnic minorities..Among them, the renowned African-Americans Mark Bradford and Amy Sherald, known for her portrait of Michelle Obama exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, but also Korean and Mexican artists.and broaden artistic canons as well as the historical narrative through art ”, explained the director.

The sale of the canvases of the three "masters", perceived as a bad manner vis-à-vis donors and a breach of the duty to protect works, has aroused criticism in the art world.The museum said it was only “a start.” Next year, $ 2 million from this sale will be devoted to the promotion of women artists.More broadly, the museum also intends to mark the he year 2020, centenary of the XIXth Amendment which generalized the right to vote of women in the United States, by giving pride of place to women creators in the twenty temporary exhibitions scheduled.

Posted Date: 2020-12-25

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