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The San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMOMA) will lay off or reduce the work schedule of an additional 55 of its employees. The museum projects an $18 million deficit for the fiscal year 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesperson for SFMOMA told Hyperallergic that the laid-off staff members, who come from different departments of the museum, will be compensated through July 31 and will also receive a severance package based on tenure, COBRA health insurance, and job search assistance.
In March, SFMOMA laid off an initial 131 on-call (contracted or freelance) employees and announced plans to furlough around 200 regular staffers by May 1, while anticipating a loss of $8 million in the fiscal year of 2020. But a $6.2 million loan from the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allowed the museum to halt the furloughs before they went into effect and keep regular staff employed and receiving benefits through June 30.
The following month, a group of workers at the museum penned an open letter to director Neal Benezra and members of the executive cabinet asking the museum to retain its staff. The petitioners called the museum’s moratorium on furloughs through the end of June a “temporary reprieve” that only “kicks the can down the road,” Hyperallergic reported.
The workers called on Benezra, who took a 50% pay cut, to draw a salary of zero for the duration of the fiscal year. (Benezra earned nearly $1 million in 2018.) They also urged trustees to raise the funds necessary to retain staff and suggested deaccessioning artwork from the museum’s collection.
The layoffs come at the heels of a controversy involving the museum’s response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and claims that it had censored a critical comment by a Black former employee, Taylor Brandon, on its Instagram page. The museum was forced to apologize after disabling comments on a post that featured a work by artist Glenn Ligon. In her deleted comment, Brandon accused museum officials of tokenizing Black artists and “weaponizing their own black employees.”
Benezra followed the museum’s statement with a personal apology to Brandon. “I’m deeply sorry for the pain and anger this decision has caused you,” he wrote.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…