Brown Girl Museum Blog

The Nation We Make Together (Part II)

For our two-part series “The Nation We Make Together,” Ravon and I are taking a longer look at issues that inspired us to start Brown Girls Museum Blog in the first place: questions of patriotism, marginal perspectives, and radical vulnerability all under the museum field umbrella. Our goal has always been to find our space in this industry, in these institutions, but that work cannot be done until we have made clear our positions relative to culture at large. If we don’t make it clear what we believe in, and how we struggle to reconcile our differences, the task of creating space will be impossible.

The first piece in this series began with a quote:

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” —James Baldwin

With it, Ravon argued rightly that criticism is an act of love, and that to be critical of the nation is to make yourself be a citizen of it. In the tradition of Baldwin, and in agreement with my co-blogger, I also insist on my right to critique. I would add that in addition to being an act of love and belonging, critique is an act of creation. Although it’s easy to think of criticism as a negation, simply tearing down something made by someone else, in its best form, critique creates new possibilities and offers a different view of the world and the object it’s aimed at.

When we think about criticism — of an artwork, of an institution, of a nation — as a kind of making, we open ourselves up to the opportunities of new perspectives. Instead of fearing criticism and its ability to destroy, we start to think about the mindset behind it, and what it might be like to live inside that perspective. For museums that silo the creations of artists, historians, and culture workers, making and criticism are deeply intertwined, and being aware of that connection will make the work we do all the more compassionate.

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ICYMI: Ravon Ruffin and Lanae Spruce in The Lily!

ICYMI: Ravon Ruffin and Lanae Spruce in The Lily!

It’s been a week — actually, it’s been a year. And in the spirit of celebrating when we can, I wanted to make sure to re-share an article that was all over my twitter feed last week, for good reason. For their amazing work strategizing social media for the National Museum of African American History […]

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The Nation We Make Together (Part I)

It has taken me two years to write this post. It is the reason this blog was created, but it wasn’t until recently that I found the words and the courage to write it, unapologetically. We’ve had a lot to contemplate, here at the blog, and we’re excited to finally share the conversations we’ve been […]

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BGMB 2 Year Party!

Recently, BGMB celebrated our two-year anniversary — two years of focusing on emerging professionals and people of color in museums and the art world. We couldn’t have made it this far without the support of our DC community and so we opened the doors to the Anacostia Arts Center for a night of connecting, discussing, and celebrating the work we are all doing together.

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Image Making: Interview with Michael Platt

This Friday, March 25, “image-maker” Michael Platt will give a talk at the Honfleur Gallery in Anacostia about his most recent exhibition, titled Pathfinders. In support of this upcoming talk, the Anacostia Arts Center, and local DC art in general, we talked to the artist to get a preview of what he’ll be covering at the event, including the difference between image-making and artistry, the goals of Pathfinders, and how art speaks back.

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Future of Museums II

Not long ago, Ravon weighed in on what she saw for the future of museums based on the activist and academic perspectives we have always brought to our work through this site. What she wrote about the need for museums to take on the role of coordinating and centering the wide-ranging activist efforts of their communities through the important work of making and providing space is something I completely agree with. This is exactly the kind of work we encourage institutions to do, and try to perform ourselves as well. Today I want to talk about this same work in a different direction: not just activism, museums should also be vector points for academic efforts too.

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Beyond the Walls: Building the Capacity for Community

Last week we had the pleasure of being the keynote speakers for the 2017 Small Museum Association Annual Conference. Needless to say, we were honored to have the opportunity and were excited to share in the importance of small museum institutions to the future of museums. Below is a brief––very brief––overview of our keynote presentation. […]

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An Artist Perspective: Interview with Adriana Corral

The art world and the museum field have a close relationship, but we don’t often hear the artist’s perspective on the collection and exhibition of their work. Artists are often politically aware, and politically active — what do they have to say about the growing trend of community-building and space-making that is happening in museums? What lessons can museums take from the world of public art?

To find out, we sat down with artist Adriana Corral to get the artist’s perspective on what museums do best, what it was like to move from grad school to the art world, and why geography is always present in her work.

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Future of Museums I

The recent election. A new year. A blog two years in the making. These are all the things that have us thinking about where to go next. We chose to write “Future of Museums” as a two-part post, to give insight from our individual perspectives as they are shaped by academia and museums, and so I […]

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BGMB Highlights of 2016

Happy New Year! Somehow we all managed to survive 2016 — although it certainly wasn’t easy. It was a year that just would not give up, but thankfully neither did we, and BGMB had some great achievements last year that we feel very proud of. We couldn’t have done it without the support of many people both within the museum field and outside of it, including everyone who has been following us here at the blog. Whether you found us in the beginning of our journey or are just now coming to this space, your interest in what we have to say has been amazing. Thank you!

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