Context is everything

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The continuing saga of financial and organizational peril at the African American Museum in Philadelphia makes me want to point out to art lovers that this has been a special place where you can see high quality African-American art that’s serious and thoughtful.

And we’re not talking just one painting or three paintings, in typical white-institution tokenism, but ambitious shows, and shows that compare more than one African-American artist. As Roberta pointed out when I raised the subject yesterday, the museum’s offerings with their contextual seriousness make this institution important. (Here’s a link to a 5/18/03 post about a couple of shows I reviewed there).

Apparently, the museum lacks adequate support from local donors private and corporate, everyone waiting for the African-American community to step up to the plate, no doubt. But the support needs to be community-wide, because the service at least in the field of art, has fulfilled needs of the community at large.

So, all of you who support the big museum up on the hill, why don’t you consider directing some money toward this little museum too? It’s a rare place that offers African-American art in a meaningful context.

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