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How Top U.S. Art Museums Excluded Black Artists During the 1980s


Image courtesy of ARTnews.

Originally published in March of 1989, this reissued article by Patricia Failing chronicles the difficulties faced by African American visual artists and their attempts to get their work 'out there.' Speaking with curators, artists, and other industry professionals, this essay presents a range of art-world views and positions in considering how Black artists are included, and excluded. With the past year being marked with political protests for Black lives and art institutions being taken to task, this essay in ARTnews is just as relevant today as it was decades ago.


“The art establishment, as with the American economy as a whole, still seems hesitant or unwilling to admit minority artists into full economic participation in the art world. Even where goodwill exists, there is a distinct difference between the way these artists are promoted vis a vis their white counterparts.” - Lowery Sims
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