Skip to comments.Kaywin Feldman Becomes the First Woman to Direct the National Gallery of Art (social justice in DC)
Posted on 12/19/2018 8:45:26 PM PST by a fool in paradise
Kaywin Feldman Becomes the First Woman to Direct the National Gallery of Art in Washington
Feldman is the fifth director to lead the venerable 77-year old institution.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has named Kaywin Feldman as its new director. She will be the fifth directorand the first ever female directorof the venerable 77-year-old institution. Feldman, who has been director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) since 2008, will take up the new position in March 2019.
The seasoned museum administrator takes the helm from longtime director Earl Rusty Powell III, who has led the National Gallery since 1992 and who announced his retirement in November 2017. This past April, a committee of board members, assisted by recruiting firm Phillips Oppenheim, embarked on a search for a new leader.
Feldman, 52, will now oversee an institution with more than 5.2 million annual visitors, a staff of 1,100, and an operating budget of $167.8 million ($129.5 million of which comes from the federal government). It is a significant step up from the scale of Minneapolis, which had 900,000 visitors last year and maintains a full-time staff of 265 and an operating budget of $35 million.
Feldman has been a prominent figure in the museum world for years. She previously served as president of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and chair of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Before the took the job in Minneapolis, she served as director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee. She was just 28 years old when she took her first museum director gig at the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science.
Under her leadership, attendance at Mia has nearly doubled, from around 450,000 in 2009 to more than 700,000 in 2018 to date. She has also expanded the museums digital presencesomething the NGA has been conspicuously slow to invest inand championed equity and social justice in the museums program. Earlier this year, the museum announced the launch of its Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts, a think tank dedicated to exploring how museums can build a more just society.
She is also not afraid of experimentation. Last year, for example, the Mia unveiled an unorthodox overhaul of six of its 17 period rooms designed to highlight the power structures behind them. (The fact that one of the rooms previous inhabitants was a slave owner was made explicit, as were his ties to the local Native American community.)
During Feldmans time in Minneapolis, the museum also acquired works by Kehinde Wiley, Ai Weiwei, James McNeill Whistler, Edgar Degas, and Georgia OKeeffe, among others. The Japanese art collection more than doubled in size.
Feldman joins the National Gallery at a critical moment. In recent years, the institution has been dogged by complaints about poor management, low staff morale, retaliation, and sexual harassment, all of which have been chronicled by the Washington Post.
Her peers believe she is up to the task. Kaywin Feldman will bring a fresh perspective to the National Gallery, and is sure to inspire us all, Maxwell Anderson, the president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation and a fellow past president of the AAMD, told artnet News. She has long been a bold and principled leader in the museum profession, who has introduced innovative thinking about how institutions connect with audiences, while maintaining the highest standards in research and scholarship. The NGAs trustees have made a brilliant choice.
Feldman will have to contend with the politics of leading an institution in DC that is largely federally funded. In an essay for Apollo magazine published earlier this year, she wrote: "Art museums are intensely political organizationspolitical with a small p. Art is political because it is an expression of lived human experience; identity, love, sex, religion, death, home, happiness, and trauma have always been subjects for artists. A concerned trustee at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where I am the director, recently asked me if we would ever be the focus of protest. I assured him that we would, and urged him to walk around the galleries if he wanted to find offense. We have it all on our walls: imperialism, colonialism, war, oppression, discrimination, slavery, misogyny, rape, and more."
In a statement provided by the NGA, Feldman said the museum is arguably Americas greatest treasure. To be chosen to lead it into its next decades is a profound honor. As I prepare to take on the responsibility for this magnificent institution, I want to express my gratitude to the trustees for putting their faith in me, and to Rusty Powell for the example of his years of enlightened stewardship. I am eager to work with the talented team at the Gallery in taking the institution to even greater heights.
Dennis Prager discussed this today on his radio show and read the article on the air.
He also read this article:
The National Gallery of Identity Politics
Forget Monet or Hopper. The art museums new director wants to tackle gender equality, social justice and diversity.
By Roger Kimball
Dec. 18, 2018 7:29 p.m. ET
Every thing is what it is and not another thing, observed the 18th-century British philosopher Joseph Butler. If that seems obvious, you havent been paying attention to what has been going on in the culture. Once upon a time (and it wasnt that long ago), universities were what they claimed to be, institutions dedicated to the preservation and transmission of civilizations highest values. Now they are bastions of political correctness, intersectionality and identity politics.
Something similar can be said of art museums....
"Art museums are intensely political organizationspolitical with a small p. Art is political because it is an expression of lived human experience; identity, love, sex, religion, death, home, happiness, and trauma have always been subjects for artists. A concerned trustee at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where I am the director, recently asked me if we would ever be the focus of protest. I assured him that we would, and urged him to walk around the galleries if he wanted to find offense. We have it all on our walls: imperialism, colonialism, war, oppression, discrimination, slavery, misogyny, rape, and more."
Last year at the MFAH I saw an exhibit about art and artists of “the Revolution” in Mexico. Never once did the descriptions refer to it as a Communist revolution or the (propaganda) artists as Communists or Communist sympathizers. Some of the artists rejected Communism and militant socialism but the exhibition descriptions didn’t give the visitors a scorecard as they viewed the pieces. Perhaps the “catalog” that was sold covered it but it was a glaring omission in the presentation.
Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 19101950
June 25, 2017 October 1, 2017
Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 19101950 charts the development of modern art in Mexico and the social, political, and cultural forces that shaped it over the course of nearly half a century. Featuring some 175 worksincluding prints, photographs, books, newspapers, easel paintings, large-scale portable murals, and mural fragmentsPaint the Revolution is unprecedented for its breadth and variety.
The most comprehensive exhibition of modern Mexican art displayed in the United States in more than seven decades, Paint the Revolution presents masterpieces by well-known figures such as Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo. Also on display are works by many of their important contemporaries, including Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Miguel Covarrubias, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Carlos Mérida, Roberto Montenegro, and Dr. Atl (Gerardo Murillo). Three historical murals by los tres grandes (the three great ones)Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueirosare digitally re-created and projected in the galleries. The exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to see the emergence of Mexico as a center of modern art.
Frida joined the Mexican Communist Party when she was in her 20s but left when her husband Diego Rivera, also a famous artist, was expelled. After the expulsion, Frida and Diego went to the US, and it was here that they began associating with the Left Opposition headed by Leon Trotsky.
THIS was not addressed in the exhibit
“While Rivera was a bold, optimistic figure, touting the glory of the revolution, Orozco was less comfortable with the bloody toll the social movement was taking”
“However, while he is associated with socialist realism, unlike his two artist colleagues Orozco did not join the Communist Party, and adopted a more humanistic approach in his public art which reflected his worldwide humanitarian concerns as well as the universal themes of freedom and justice and the futility of war. This less political approach brings him closer to the Social Realism movement, as led by Ben Shahn, with whom Diego Rivera collaborated on at least one mural in America. “
He was a Marxist-Leninist in support of the Soviet Union and a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Leon Trotsky in May 1940.
The major art form produced in Mexico during the years following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, especially during 19201940, was mural painting, mostly in the technique of fresco. Three artists dominated this period: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, known collectively as the Big Three. Rufino Tamayo, younger and less ideologically aligned to those three, followed his own path of a more modernist style
When Miss Modotti was deported from Mexico in 1930 because of her Communist political activities, Mr. Alvarez Bravo bought some of her cameras (one of which had belonged to Mr. Weston) and inherited her job. He was later commissioned to take portraits of the muralist painters, hired by Eisenstein as a cameraman on his film “Que Viva Mexico!” and invited to show his photographs at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York with Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans.
Covarrubias had begun work on Mexico South , a book about pre-Hispanic Olmec art, when World War II broke out. His involvement in leftist causes, often with known Communists like Diego Rivera, caused friction in his marriage when Rosa feared the effect of such associations on their friendship with the Whitney and Rockefeller
A liberal from Somalisota. She will see to it that the art quality is similar to that of the Obamas’ official portraits.
The same political revisionism that infected the Smithsonian is spreading
I'm guessing she wouldn't have gotten the job if we didn't have President Trump.
Perhaps you’re correct; we should know soon enough...once she gets into the full swing of her new job.
No its not. While certainly in the top five of US art museums the National Gallery looks weak compared to the vast holdings of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and the Chicago Art Institute.
She'll show us who she is when she starts screwing with the tags found on the many works of art on display.
Liberals and progressives have a way of screwing up everything they touch.
Looks to me like a long boring article about a woman who is being promoted because she nearly doubled visitors and made some innovations.
Thats actually only an increase of nearly 56 percent, which is a long ways from doubling. A couple hundred thousand visitors short.
Its early and maybe my math is off.
Did you click the WSJ link?
750,000 isn’t double 450,000. It is only 1.666x
Apparently that was a good plan. It's coming. If you don't believe me, look up Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1976.
>>She’ll show us who she is when she starts screwing with the tags found on the many works of art on display.
I noticed that at another museum that recently reopened after 9 months of renovation.
The tags have been redesigned and now read “BCE” and “ACE”. No more “B.C.” and “A.D.”.
Yes, but when are they going to select the first post-op trans with an implanted uterus who has given birth to a gender binary ginger bread baby?
After 2 issues, I cancelled a subscription to the Smithsonian magazine. I was embarrassed how out there this institution has become.
No, I didn’t click the link. When I tried there is a paywall. “Underlying power structures” from the artnet article is definitely identity politics, but it is a good thing to remember the history of people like Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun and Artemisia Gentileschi because it teaches us how to deal with the soy boys who are basically causing most of the identity politics nonsense. They basically are shooting themselves in the foot with the good female artists (not the terrible ones) and I don’t think they have figured that out yet, which is fine by me. Entrepreneurs like Jean-Baptiste Pierre Le Brun also show how conservative men respond to having talented wives.
Not "C.E"? That's odd. Neil DeGrasse Tyson (even him) was on a Joe Rogan podcast and gave a nice rousing explanation for why he always uses BC and AD. Not sure how often he has to use either in his line, and not sure (at this computer) which of his three appearances are the right one, but anyway...
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