Is This Your Curator?! Brooklyn Museum Faces Backlash After Appointing White Woman as African Art Curator

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Brooklyn Museum White Curator
Kristen Windmuller-Luna is a Yale graduate and a curator of African arts and architecture. (Image courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum)

The Brooklyn Museum welcomed two new curators for its photography and African art collections this week, but the new hires have left some critics scratching their heads in confusion.

Kristen Windmuller-Luna, a curator and historian of African arts and architecture, was made the Sillis Family Consulting Curator of African art, while artist Drew Sawyer was appointed to the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography, according to BK Reader.

Both curators are white, however, leaving many to wonder why a person of color wasn’t tapped for the role of African art curator.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Drew and Kristen to our fantastic curatorial team during this period of great momentum as we expand exhibitions, public programs, and educational reach,” museum director Anne Pasternak said in a statement.

According to the new site, Sawyer will “reimagine the role of photography collections” at the museum and seek ways to creatively integrate them with other galleries and exhibits. Meanwhile, Windmuller-Luna will be tasked with rethinking the Brooklyn museum’s entire collection of African art, which includes more than 6,000 objects and artifacts.

“…Her focus will be to create a dialogue between the African art collection and other works within the museum’s holdings while also helping to develop educational programming,” BK Reader stated.

The new appointments have critics shaking in disbelief, some of them blasting the urban museum for failing to appoint a qualified minority to curate, and grow its existing African art collection.

Then there were others who argued that there may be a shortage of nonwhite degree-holders with backgrounds in African art and architecture, pointing to the lack of POCs appointed to museum curator positions.

The Brooklyn Museum hasn’t responded to the outrage.

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