Social Media Advocacy Group Urges Boycott of U.S. Museums in October

@ChangeTheMuseum Instagram account is shedding light on discrimination and inequalities inside institutions.

By
Arts 
4,257 Hypes 4 Comments

@ChangeTheMuseum is an Instagram account started by cultural workers to publicly air out micro-aggressions, instances of race-and gender-based discrimination as well as sexual harassment inside fine art establishments. The account’s founder, who remains anonymous, created the social media platform back in June following international Black Lives Matter protests surrounding the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks as per The Art Newspaper.

The advocacy group recently shared a post, with the hashtag #NoMuseumOctober, requesting that folks should not visit museums stateside throughout the month of October until these art spaces publicly announce that they will offer hazard pay and benefits for their employees until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available. Most institutions have recently opened or are set to open following coronavirus-related shutdowns.

“As museums across the United States begin to reopen in the midst of a global pandemic, they do so by depending on the labour of essential, frontline workers. These museum professionals—the majority of whom identify as Bipoc [Black, Indigenous and People of Colour], and who barely make liveable wages—put their health and safety at risk so that museum administrators—largely white, and making six-figure salaries—can meet financial goals set by even wealthier, whiter museum boards,” said the group in a statement. “Meanwhile, many of these museums have done little to address staff complaints of racist behaviours and severe inequities within their ivory tower walls.”

The group’s boycott of U.S. museums, which was shared on September 28, has received both support and opposition as relayed by comments from cultural workers. “Hi, art museum frontline staff worker here! We definitely deserve hazard pay, but calling for a boycott will not achieve this goal. From inside the belly of the beast, I can say with absolute certainty that upper management will not hesitate to lay off or furlough frontline workers if revenue decreases,” one Instagram commenter wrote in response to the group’s post.”Many of my BIPOC and queer coworkers live paycheck to paycheck— please don’t put their jobs in even more danger! Writing letters and sending emails to your local museums is a much more effective tactic that does not put jobs at risk.”

One of the standout supporters for the boycott, however, is the Guerrilla Girls. The iconic feminist activist collective shared the group’s call with the hashtag #NoMuseumOctober on its Facebook page. Still, many commenters are worried that the boycott could gravely impact the livelihood of museum staffers coupled with criticisms of performative activism: “Can you please be specific about the advocacy groups and individuals you consulted? This still reads as a campaign organized by people who are not on the frontlines,” one Instagram user commented. “To be clear, the outcry came from frontline workers. If you are listening to anyone else here then you dont [sic] actually represent their interests in the way you intended.”

The Black Lives Matter protests that have erupted have forced museums to address their longstanding history with racism and inequality. Museums must decide if they will finally address this decades-long culture of racism or continue serving white-dominated histories.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Upcoming Whitney Biennial Has Been Postponed Until 2022
Arts

Upcoming Whitney Biennial Has Been Postponed Until 2022

The premier fair for contemporary art was initially set to launch in spring 2021.

Labrum Takes Us On A Journey With SS21 Collection
Fashion

Labrum Takes Us On A Journey With SS21 Collection

‘The Cotton Tree’ is a story of Sierra Leone’s heritage, aesthetics and symbolism.

Grant Taylor's Nike SB Zoom Blazer Mid Pro GT to Release in ACG-Inspired Colorway
Footwear

Grant Taylor's Nike SB Zoom Blazer Mid Pro GT to Release in ACG-Inspired Colorway

Compete with a clever alternate tongue badge.


Off-White™ HOME Returns With Items For Every Room
Design

Off-White™ HOME Returns With Items For Every Room

The second collection includes sleepwear, bed linens and table furnishings.

Watch Travis Scott, Young Thug and M.I.A. Perform "FRANCHISE" on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'
Music

Watch Travis Scott, Young Thug and M.I.A. Perform "FRANCHISE" on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

Eating value meal fries in a G-Wagon.

EXCLUSIVE: Donatella Versace Discusses the New Versace Trigreca Sneaker
Footwear

EXCLUSIVE: Donatella Versace Discusses the New Versace Trigreca Sneaker

The Salehe Bembury-designed silhouette has made its official retail debut.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Help us serve you better

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads, where we can share contents from the latest fashion, to those culturally relevant. By adding HYPEBEAST to your ad blocker's whitelist, ads on our sites will show while you continue to browse.