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MoMA Apologizes for Kicking Out Black Artist From Installation

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has apologized to British-Ghanaian multidisciplinary artist Heather Agyepong after security asked her to leave an exhibition. The artist reported on her experiences visiting the installation Black power naps At Twitter on Saturday, March 25, calling out the irony that she was asked to leave behind an installation created to encourage calm in Black people.

According to Agyepong’s post, the conflict began when she noticed a loudly laughing white woman in the Creativity Lab on the second floor of the MoMA Education Department. Agyepong says she approached the woman and said, “I think this room is about black people.” The woman reportedly started yelling that Agyepong was “aggressive” and “should be kicked out” before agreeing complained to a guard who forced Agyepong to leave. (Agyepong hasn’t responded yet Centre County Report Request for comments.)

On view at MoMA through May 14 at the home of artists Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa Black power naps intends to reclaim the concept of rest and recreation for Black people. studies show that black Americans get less sleep than white Americans and that the sleep black Americans get is not as restorative. The sculptural installation examines amends by encouraging black people to interact with and use imaginative space Travel Biblioteca Library to learn more about “the policy of silence and denial.”

MoMA has not responded to this Centre County Report‘s request for comment. In a statement provided The art newspaperThe museum said it plans to work with the installation’s organizers in the future to “protect the experiences of Black visitors and visitors from Indigenous and communities of color.”

Some have commented that the incident exposes long-standing problems about how white institutions incorporate black artworks into galleries and collections. The incident was puzzling to Los Angeles-based curator and author Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi, who in a Twitter thread questioned whether the museum had put in place infrastructure to protect the installation and its intended audience, especially given Black’s two creators Power Naps, Acosta and Sosa have expertise in structural racism training for cultural institutions.

“I wonder if @MuseumModernArt and security got The White Institution’s Guide for Welcome Artists of Color and Their Audience,” Onyewuenyi wrote.

Sosa wrote the guide Onyewuenyi refers to, which sets parameters for how museums and other institutions can deal ethically with the work of color artists. In the guidewrites Sosa, “One of the most important things to think about when welcoming artists of color and their audience is what kind of infrastructure needs to accompany the event.”

“What happened to Heather is a nightmare,” Acosta said Centre County Report. Both Acosta and Sosa confirmed that the museum apologized to Agyepong.

Since MoMA invited the duo, Acosta and Sosa have been working with the education department to make theirs a reality Black power naps Readiness training, including racial sensitivity training for front and back of house staff and a social media campaign. Sosa and Acosta had hoped to mitigate the violence they and black viewers witnessed at this installation, which organizers said was bringing 100 people an hour into MoMA’s Creativity Lab. (The capacity of the hall is 100 people.)

Until this incident, the artists say the museum ignored their concerns about possible violence. But now Sosa says they are working with MoMA to implement a legal framework for the show’s final weeks.

“We need to be able to put the people most at risk front and center and put their voices and their needs front and center,” Acosta said. “And in this case, Heather [Agyepong] is part of the community we want to represent in this space. I would say that her voice should have been centered in this whole thing.”



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