Institutional Truth

It has been a year for any given art institution. The public at large and museum patrons have been calling for a greater sense of transparency in where museums get their money from and who is donating the money. The protests happening at the Whitney Biennial against Warren Kanders, vice president of the museum’s board and a businessman, wealthy from weapon manufacturing, is a great example of a supposed societal desire to have philanthropy be an ethical practice. The same has occurred to the donations the Metropolitan Museum of Art took from Sackler Foundation, one of the largest arts foundation in America and a main culprit in the Opioid epidemic. In 2019, these large institutions produce symbolic gestures to champion their own financial ethics, while perhaps ignoring the larger legacy of western political history and the museum’s role as a venue of colonial and capitalist extraction.

So what is concrete in these places? What are the truths of the building and rebuilding of the physical structure of such a place? What do these museums look like in the shadows or where they are most honest? As a museum worker, I focus my lens on these forgotten moments, images that speak to the true cost of labor and corners of the museum that go forgotten, but tell larger narratives about the space they occupy than any art exhibition ever could.

This project was shown as a part of CENTER’s photosummer.