At 19 Art Shows, From Los Angeles to Manhattan, All Eyes Are on Inclusion

Art museums are increasingly under an ethical searchlight. Recently, sources of patronage have been protested, leading one Whitney Museum of American Art donor and trustee, whose wealth comes from the manufacture of military supplies, to leave the board. And long before this development there have been demands that our big-guns art institutions racially and ethnically diversify their boards, staffs and collections.

Where the calls for accounting will lead remains to be seen. But they won’t end soon, and will almost certainly shape responses to the fall’s most noticed American museum event, the reopening of the Museum of Modern Art, after an extensive expansion and reinstallation. Will the “new” MoMA exchange its old, cramped Paris-New York version of Modernism for an inclusive and accurately global one? Will women and artists of color finally find their rightful place in the mix?

We’ll have to wait for answers until the museum reopens on Oct. 21. But two solo exhibitions debuting then are clearly moves in the right direction. One, “Betye Saar: The Legends of ‘Black Girl’s Window,’” is a survey of prints by a veteran Los Angeles artist who, at 93, is still going strong. (A parallel display of the artist’s notebooks titled “Betye Saar: Call and Response,” will be at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from Sept. 22 to April 5.)

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