The Guggenheim’s First Black Curator Sets the Record Straight

Curator Chaédria LaBouvier speaks out against the Guggenheim's treatment of her and her 2019 exhibition.

Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Photo from the Guggenheim Museum / YouTube.

In 2019, Chaédria LaBouvier curated the hit exhibition Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story at the Guggenheim Museum. Although LaBouvier was celebrated as the museum's first Black curator, she attests that the institution treated her with hostility when she refused to give them ownership of her scholarship and work. The Observer covers the curator's story, detailing how the experience became, “the most racist professional experience of [her] life.”

"I made the show as a love letter to NYC and it is and was devastating that a NYC museum would prevent New Yorkers from engaging with their history. This is what museums are for. If they are here to remind us of pasts that are not the past, what are they for?”