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Museum to sell white artists’ work to buy black art

PICTURED: Baltimore Museum of Art (Image: Visit Baltimore)

BALTIMORE MUSEUM of Art is set to sell works in its collection by white artists to make funds available to buy more pieces by black and female artists.

Among the museum’s recent acquisitions are works by the late African American artists Jack Whitten and John T Scott.

The move is seen as an effort to ensure that the museum’s collection reflects the city’s community, which is predominantly black.

Christopher Bedford, the museum’s director, described it as radical.

“To state it explicitly and act on it with discipline — there is no question that is an unusual and radical act to take,” Bedford said in an interview with Art Net News.

He added: “The BMA, like any civic museum, must undergo a continuous process of reviewing its collection and identifying areas for growth and refinement with the goal of building a collection that is more relevant to the community it serves.”

In total, the museum has approved plans to deaccession seven works from its collection of contemporary art.

Among those being sold are two paintings by Andy Warhol.

“The sale of these works, identified by our curators after a very thorough process, will allow us to do just that, and strengthen our collection of contemporary art,” Bedford said.

James Panero, executive editor of The New Criterion, a conservative art journal based in New York was critical of the museum’s plans.

He said: “They’re trying to racialize a topic (art) that is meant to be and should be universal and doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment.”

He added: “It’s insulting to the people of Baltimore to say ‘You can’t relate to this artwork because the artist is white...that they would not be able to relate to it the way that I can because of their race or gender.”

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