Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

www.mfah.org Home

IcaadocsArchive

Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    867636
    TITLE
    Do the right thing : Mainstream Museums and Galleries need to end their racist and elitist practices and become genuinely inclusive institutions, argues Carlos Tortolero
    IN
    Museums Journal (London, England). -- No. 103 (Jun. 2003)
    DESCRIPTION
    p. 20-21 : ill.
    LANGUAGES
    English
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Journal article – Essays
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    Tortolero, Carlos. "Do the right thing: Mainstream Museums and Galleries need to end their racist and elitist practices and become genuinely inclusive institutions, argues Carlos Tortolero." Museums Journal (London) 103 (June 2003): 20-21.
Synopsis

Carlos Tortolero, founding father and director of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (now the National Museum of Mexican Art), writes that mainstream museums are elitist and discriminatory institutions that either claim they have already diversified, or that they need more funding to do so. Both claims, Tortolero writes, are nonsense. He argues that museums—most of which claim diversity as an important goal—need to allocate operating funds for this purpose, so that they need to showcase all cultures in an equitable way. Tortolero explains how his institution has succeeded in making itself accessible to a diverse audience, much to the shock of the museum community. Furthermore, he contends that racism is one of the prime reasons for unfairness in the museum field, and demands that museums stop being inaccessible to large portions of society and, instead, become positive and proactive leaders of society.

Annotations

Carlos Tortolero, the director and founding father of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (now the National Museum of Mexican Art) in Chicago, published this essay in 2000 in the London-based Museums Journal. His discussion about the failure of mainstream museums to diversify audiences and the need for community-based museums that affect real social change brings to the fore how issues raised during the 1980s have continued to be relevant. (The National Museum of Mexican Art was founded in 1987.) The article speaks to the editorial framework “Globalization and its Latin American (Dis)/Contents” because it considers the success of the National Museum of Mexican Art in employing Mexican-Americans and in attracting a wide, diverse audience to its exhibitions.

Researcher
Victor Alejandro Sorell, Gabrielle Toth; Harper Montgomery, collaborator
Team
Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, USA
Credit
Article first appeared in Museums Journal, London. Reproduced with permission of Museums Association
Chicago, IL