PROSPECT HEIGHTS – The Brooklyn Museum’s recent announcement of the new curator for its African Art department is inciting outrage among the black community and stirring up a social media storm.
Starting in April, Kristen Windmuller-Luna will begin her role as the Sills Family Consulting Curator of African Art at the museum. Windmuller-Luna received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University and her B.A. in the History of Art from Yale University. She is a curator and historian of African arts and architecture and specializes in the early modern period and Christian Ethiopia.
Many have taken to social media to express their disapproval of the Museum’s decision and to condemn the appointment of a white woman, instead of a person of color, to curate the institution’s African Art department.
My inner Killmonger: @brooklynmuseum you’ve got to be kidding with this hire to curate African Art. I KNOW there are scores more qualified professionals of the African diaspora who should have been hired. https://t.co/qKj4Nx5p5F
— Sharon D. Johnson (@SDJohnson515) March 28, 2018
— MDO (@17241724) March 28, 2018
— Zenibuka ✏📱🎮🥘💏😺 (@zenibuka) March 28, 2018
Dear @brooklynmuseum — Re: African art curators — WHAT ARE YOU THINKING???!!!
— Preemie Maboroshi (@PreemiMaboroshi) March 28, 2018
@brooklynmuseum Really AA Curators? Did you even try reaching out to qualified African Americans? They are restructuring OUR Narrative?! You are not even #legit A total #joke unfortunately against African Americans!
— tmonae (@tereziamonae) March 28, 2018
@brooklynmuseum ……. Please explain how these 2 flour white folks can have ANY input into African displays (stolen displays) at all? I’ll wait. Oh… I forgot. White washing of history. Duh. Just recently saw that disgusting bust of what is NOT Queen Nefertiti. https://t.co/jCXXsUZ3dG
— Dre422 (@Dre4221) March 28, 2018
“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 showcasing the breadth and depth of the collection,” according to the Brooklyn Museum announcement.
“Working with the curatorial team, she will focus on creating a visual dialogue between the African art collection and other significant works within the Museum’s holdings.”
“Dr. Windmuller-Luna is a fine fit for this position,” Larry and Susan Sills stated in the Museum’s announcement. “We look forward to witnessing the creative ways she will approach the study and display of the Brooklyn Museum’s renowned African art collection.” The Sills Family Foundation is a supporter of the Brooklyn Museum.
“Kristen is the perfect choice to build upon the Brooklyn Museum’s track record as an innovator in the collection and exhibition of the arts of Africa,” the Museum’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Jennifer Chi, said in the release. “Her vision for a new permanent collection installation that transforms how viewers relate to the arts of Africa is tremendously exciting for us as we near the 100th anniversary of the Brooklyn Museum’s pioneering exhibition of African art in 1923.”
BKLYNER reached out to the Brooklyn Museum for comment and will update after we receive a response.