As a quick example, I'm having a hard time finding a personal experience, or cultural heritage, or even any vividness in the work of the forementioned Guillermo Kuitca (soon coming to the Hirshhorn Museum in DC – October 21, 2010 to January 16, 2011).
I realize that I am being pedantic, but such wide statements as this one do tend to bug me more than they should. It is driven by my firm belief that museums should collect artwork based on the merit of the artist and the art, and not based mostly on the artist's ethnic, sex or racial background.
And I really think that statements such as the unfortunate one from Ms. Broun do have the unintended consequence of revealing a rather galvanized and incorrect view of how one culture sometimes tends to view another culture.
I'm not sure if I have made my point clear, as it is a confusing issue, even to me. Perhaps the best way to showcase this issue is to pretend that SAAM was hiring a new curator for Nordic art. Nordic is another ethnic label which often misses the mark about the people whom it is intended to label. As a result, this would immediately cause some confusion in defining Nordic (as there is confusion in defining Latino). Are Germans Nordic or Teutons? How about Finns? Certainly not Finland's Laplanders, but they are also Finnish. And Ms. Broun's statement would read:
“I am thrilled that E. Karmen Ramosdottir is bringing her expertise and insights here to help us feature Nordic artists who transform personal experiences and cultural heritage into brooding artworks. These stories are culturally specific, but also American and universal.”
In any event, F. Lennox Campello welcomes E. Carmen Ramos to Washington, DC.