What should museums do when artists do wrong? Here at the Walker Art Center, allegations of impropriety by Chuck Close, an artist we have deep ties to, have shaken us. What do we need to consider when (and if) showing work by artists like Close? How do our acquisitions, presentation, and interpretation processes need to change? What else do we need to think about? To tackle these questions openly, we invited five art world experts to share their thinking in the inaugural edition of Soundboard. This new tool allows for multiple commissioned essays on the same topic within the same interface:
Sharing their views are individuals from diverse perspectives, job functions, and backgrounds: artist Rashayla Marie Brown, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts CEO Deborah Cullinan, critic/historian Tyler Green, Hammer Museum educator Theresa Sotto, and arts journalist Jillian Steinhauer.
Each author's perspective appeared within the Walker Reader feed with a unique, Jenny Holzer–inspired title graphic, designed by the Walker's amazing Design Studio, which was then resized for sharing on social media:
In hopes of learning from our readers as well, we linked each piece to our discussions on Twitter and Facebook and offered, for the first time, direct access to our editor (me) for feedback or suggestions on future Soundboard themes.
Launching this new feature with such a substantive question, and such thoughtful contributions, sets a high bar for future iterations, but I think we're up to the challenge.
Update April 1, 2018: The Minneapolis Star Tribune has amplified this discussion with a piece by reporter Jenna Ross.