The Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, along with other major Texas museums, have issued statements of solidarity with national protests against police brutality. Over the past 24 hours, several national museums and one museum organization have issued similar statements, as reported by Artnews. The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, the Guggenheim Museum, NYC, and the High in Atlanta are among nearly two dozen museums decrying the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others.
DMA Director Agustín Arteaga and Nasher Director Jeremy Strick have both issued full statements.
The full statement from the DMA is the first thing visible on the museum’s home page. Others, like The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Ruby City, and others, have posted black squares on their Instagram accounts along with their statements, and the hashtag Blackouttuesday.
The DMA Statement appears below.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
I’m writing to you to reflect on what is happening in our communities, our city, and our country around us and the role our beloved DMA should play during these painful times of social unrest. The DMA strongly opposes discrimination and condemns violence against black Americans. We mourn the senseless killing of George Floyd and the too many other victims of racism and police brutality. We believe that black lives matter, and we support the right to peacefully seek justice.
Your art museum’s purpose is to preserve and share the history of humanity through works of art, connecting people across time and cultures. As we struggle to move forward, it is critical that we work even harder to address centuries of systemic racism and discrimination that have shaped institutions as well as our understanding of these histories.
The DMA will use its collections to advance underrepresented and neglected voices. With our exhibitions and programs and within our institution, we will continue to seek, create, and share opportunities that address these crucial issues with our community, serving as a space of dialogue, listening, reflection, and action. Caring for objects from the past and present does not make any sense if we do not use them to create a better future.
The DMA cannot be a distant spectator of the world that surrounds us, and we need to do all we can to help reach respectful terms of understanding and justice. Collectively, we can reconstruct the social fabric in a way that represents equity and respect for everyone. There is much more work to do, and we are committed to that work.
I hope these circumstances serve to bring out the very best in all of us.
The Eugene McDermott Director
And the Nasher:
No decent person can view the video of the killing of George Floyd without feeling pain, revulsion, anger. And yet, what inspires greatest outrage is the knowledge that, but for the fact of its being recorded on video, this murder would have been committed with impunity, like the countless murders and acts of violence committed against African Americans and other peoples of color from the earliest years of our nation’s history to the present day.
Over the past weekend, places around the nation were damaged, and while we regret the damage, we acknowledge that these incidents pale to insignificance when placed in the context of an overwhelming and ongoing history of institutionalized racial violence, inequality, injustice. Too often in moments of civil unrest, calls for social improvement are joined to condemnation of acts of civil and uncivil disobedience, an apparent even-handedness that represents a false and pernicious equivalence. These occasional outbursts of destruction, however lamentable and misdirected, cannot be compared to the grinding history of subjugation to which they respond. At the Nasher, as much as we hope for the cessation of violence and a return to peace, we recognize that peace without justice is no peace at all.
Art museums are not at the core of our nation’s ills, and indeed they perform great good. But museums, like all institutions, cannot be separated from, and indeed derive benefit from the same social structures that have used institutionalized violence against people of color as the tip of their spear. While over the years the Nasher has taken measures to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, we have not done enough.
Going forward, we will strive to do more and do better, inside and outside our walls, advancing diversification of staff and programs and enriching outreach, while providing a forum for voices from the community and activating our channels of communication to advocate for change. Out of this moment of grief and pain will come new resolve to right a multitude of wrongs, and the actions to do so.