Last week on American University Radio WAMU 88.5, The Kojo Nnamdi Show featured AU faculty and alumni in their discussion of diversity in DC art museums. The topic came to light after recent protests against the dominance of white male artists in the galleries, particularly at the National Gallery of Art where over 90% of works on display have white male creators.
On Valentine’s day of this year the activist group Radical Matriarchy led by Sister Leona (Michelle Sutherland) staged a rally over this lack of representation at the National Gallery, following their Valentine’s Day protest at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. This year’s protest quickly made headlines after one member undressed during the event to call attention to the problem.
On the air, Kojo Nnamdi interviewed artist Ambreen Butt, Associate Curator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts Ginny Treanor—an AU alumnus, and American University Arts Management Program Director Ximena Varela. Now available online, the episode confronts the issues of race, gender, and sexuality in the arts head on, opening with Treanor reframing the “underrepresentation” of these artists in galleries to “erasure” and illuminating the historic prejudices that established this problematic divide in the way museums and art historians value art by women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ artists.