Standing Against Yellowface @ The MFA: “Kimono Wednesdays” Cancelled

9 07 2015

AAPI Activism shuts down “Kimono Wednesdays” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Protesters display signs on June 23 in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. The museum eventually canceled the 'Kimono Wednesday' event, which invited visitors to try on a replica kimono in front of Claude Monet's 'La Japonaise.' | AP / JOHN BLANDING / BOSTON GLOBE

Protesters display signs on June 23 in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. The museum eventually canceled the ‘Kimono Wednesday’ event, which invited visitors to try on a replica kimono in front of Claude Monet’s ‘La Japonaise.’ | AP / JOHN BLANDING / BOSTON GLOBE (via Japan Times)

Stand Against Yellowface @ the MFA:

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HEADLINES

HuffPost:  Museum’s ‘Kimono Wednesdays’ Cancelled After Claims Of Racism

LA Times:  Boston art museum cancels kimono event after claims of racism

Japan Times:  Cries of racism prompt Boston art museum to cancel ‘Kimono Wednesdays’

BACKGROUND

MFA Kimono

Image and comment thread from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston Facebook page, post dated June 19, 2015. (via bigredandshiny.org)

BigRedAndShiny:  Demonstrators Protest Cultural Appropriation in MFA Galleries

Yellowface at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, February 19, 2015.

Yellowface at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, February 19, 2015.

Our Post on Yellowface at AAMSF (02/24/15):  Yellowface is Such a Drag

Of course, what would an AAPI protest be without a counterprotest on behalf of honorary white status:

Just a reminder that Orientalism is indeed integral to white supremacist structural racism (and no need to call it “neo” Orientalism, because after centuries of investment in this system of “knowledge,” it is liberal fantasy to believe it ever went away—case in point: the genealogy of East Asian studies at major US universities, aka “American Orientalism“).

Andrea Smith’s Three Pillars of White Supremacy (2010).

Andrea Smith’s Three Pillars of White Supremacy (2010).

Politics of Cultural Appropriation





Should City Art Museums be Free?

15 08 2012

Detroit Institute of Arts Museum

An article in today’s Detroit Free Press reports on how “attendance more than tripled last week compared with the same five-day period in 2011,” after the Detroit Institute of Arts made admission free to residents of three local counties “in exchange for voters’ approval a day earlier of a property tax in all three counties to support the museum.”

The bump in attendance was helped by ongoing special exhibitions, as well as media attention on the local tax measure which is designed to sustain the museum by enabling it to grow its endowment.

Other museums which have “gone free” also report substantial growth in attendance.

At the Baltimore Museum of Art, a recent contemporary show drew 80% more visitors than the average contemporary show prior to eliminating admission in 2006.

“The Baltimore museum is drawing an average of 43% more first-time visitors since it went free.

“The Indianapolis Museum of Art reinstituted free admission in 2007 after briefly charging a fee in the wake of an expansion. Attendance soared 152% in the first year after eliminating the fee, but a blockbuster show of Roman art that year from the Louvre in Paris attracted 112,000 and surely skewed the numbers, said Candace Gwaltey, public relations manager at the museum.”

It’s encouraging that city museums around the country are finding ways to fulfill their civic roles as cultural stewards in the public commons, by not only making art accessible to everyone regardless of financial status, but also removing the troubling burden of earned income from the ticket gate while drawing ever larger audiences.

It’s ironic that by making museums free, the resulting growth in attendance could only make corporate sponsors happy (right?), thus leading to greater sustainability.  Could this be a wave of the future?








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