Via The New York Times, April 25, 2023
TEMPE, Ariz. — A cigar store Indian “princess” stands alone in a corner here at the Arizona State University Art Museum, gazing toward gallery walls, not the viewer. Ten miles away, the Phoenix Art Museum is preparing a rare show of the Cuban contemporary artist Juan Francisco Elso. The Baltimore Museum of Art recently opened an expansive multimedia exhibit celebrating 50 years of hip-hop. The Plains Art Museum in North Dakota is honoring an Indigenous tribe.
While these shows would appear unrelated, they all reflect a realization among museums around the country that visitors want to see more than just paintings by American and European artists, most of them white, most of them male and many of them dead. As metropolitan areas grow in racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, museums are increasingly adding exhibitions to attract a wider audience by showing a broader array of artists and explaining why their work is worth appreciating.