Like the National Labor Union in 1866, the Walters Art Museum union lit a fuse that ignited a labor movement boom across Baltimore’s cultural institutions.
Dereck Stafford Mangus reflects on Guarding the Art, an exhibition curated by security guards at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
The artist’s solo US museum debut at the Baltimore Museum of Art is a contemptuous, at times satirical, take on oppression that gives way to a new history.
Asma Naeem’s appointment comes in the wake of a tumultuous period for the institution.
“A fine mist filled my eyes and I caught myself holding back the tears,” writes Dereck Stafford Mangus, an artist and a security guard at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Richard Yarde’s watercolors make a historical document into something personal, wistful, more a vision than a visual fact.
Unlike the more celebrated painters around her, she didn’t resolve herself to working the same issues over and over; she kept asking herself other questions, pushing the paint to do what it had not quite done before.
“We want livable wages and to be able to live well,” said Rob Kempton, a security guard. “I think our efforts are warranted, and we aren’t going to go down without a fight.”
Guarding the Art has the chance to become the model for how museums honor and respect the dignity of their guards moving forward.
“Reducing density is one important step to protect our staff and visitors,” said Kenneth Weine, the Met Museum’s chief communications officer.
Over 160 artworks, including rarely seen works on paper, illuminate Etta Cone’s vision and her role in creating the Baltimore Museum of Art’s mammoth Matisse collection.
After facing backlash for its plan to de-accession major works, the BMA will consult with community members to reinvent its role.