Thursday, 29 March 2018

How curator of non-African descent 'counters myths about African civilisations' at Brooklyn Museum

Kristen  Luna-Windmuller (l), Drew Sawyer (r). Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum
When Brooklyn Museum appointed curator of non-African descent to articulate collection of African art, it was not about colour of the skin, but the expertise. Kristen Windmuller-Luna and and Drew Sawyer have been appointed to head two curatorial units at The Brooklyn Museum, New York.
  Windmuller-Luna, a curator and historian of African arts and architecture, has got the Sills Family Consulting Curator, African Art,
while Sawyer is now the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography.
 In a statement, the museum expressed delight. “We are 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,” Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director said.
 Windmuller-Luna's new job include working out fresh ideas for the Brooklyn Museum’s vast collection of African art. Among such duties is to create relationship between the African art collection and others in the museum’s collection. The Brooklyn Museum has more than 6,000 pieces across cultures.
 Being a curator and historian of African arts and architecture, Windmuller-Luna's work include deconstructing myths about African civilisations and artistic production by focusing on areas such as cultural specificity. "Her object-centered curating counters myths about African civilizations and artistic production by focusing on cultural specificity, artistic diversity, and global historical context." 
 Windmuller-Luna has Ph.D. and M.A. in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University and  B.A. in the History of Art from Yale University.
 Sawyer is saddled with photography collection within the museum as well as to device means to integrate it with collection of other galleries for exhibitions.
 As at the period of his appointment few days ago, Sawyer was Head of Exhibitions and the William J. and Sarah Ross Soter Associate Curator of Photography at the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio.  Sawyer holds a Ph.D. in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University, specializing in North American art and visual culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
“Kristen’s 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," Deputy Director and Chief Curator Jennifer Chi stated. “Drew’s deep expertise in social and experimental documentary practices during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries will significantly augment our strong collection and will contribute to our history of championing contemporary artists who continue in this vein.”




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