Exhibiting Slavery and Representing Black Lives—Art Museums & the Legacies of the Dutch Slave Trade

Harvard Art Museums – Premiered Jul 30, 2021

This is the first session of “Art Museums and the Legacies of the Dutch Slave Trade: Curating Histories, Envisioning Futures,” presented by the  Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Harvard Art Museums, and Harvard University’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. This four-part program explores efforts by art museums to deploy their spaces and their collections—which are often enmeshed with colonialism and exploitation—to present more complete narratives of and perspectives on slavery and its legacies.

Curators discuss their work on groundbreaking projects in the Netherlands and the United States, namely the Rijksmuseum’s “Slavery” exhibition, the Rembrandthuis Museum’s exhibition “Here: Black in Rembrandt’s Time,” the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s reinstallation of its permanent collection, and the Museums Are Not Neutral initiative. The speakers reflect on the broader call for museums to recognize the relationship of their collections to slavery and to present-day racial injustice.

+ “The Rijksmuseum and Slavery” with Maria Holtrop, Curator of History, Rijksmuseum;
+ “Black Presence in 17th-Century Western Art” with Stephanie Archangel, Junior Curator, History Department, Rijksmuseum;
+ “Reflections on Re-envisioning LACMA’s Permanent Collection” with Diva Zumaya, Assistant Curator, European Painting and Sculpture, Los Angeles County Museum of Art;
+ “Possibilities of Imagining Otherwise” with La Tanya S. Autry, cultural organizer, co-producer of Museums Are Not Neutral, founder of the Black Liberation Center, and independent curator;
+ Welcome by Christopher Atkins, Van Otterloo-Weatherbie Director, Center for Netherlandish Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston;
+ Introductions/Moderator: Sarah Mallory, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University.

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