Holy Cross Professor Weighs in on Museums Seeking to Better Represent People of Color

The Post and Courier


In 2009, the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina exhibited a piece that represented the extremely limited number of black artists in their collection of art, displayed by juxtaposing about 40 black squares in a sea of 10,000 white squares. Since then, the Gibbes has joined a larger trend of recognizing the influence of black artists in their history, acquiring about 25 pieces over the last 10 years.

Holy Cross history professor and author of the book "A Golden Haze of Memory: The Making of Historic Charleston" Stephanie Yuhl was asked by The Post and Courier to comment on the museum's efforts. "Part of the Gibbes' obligation is to its history and the ways its practices have excluded certain aspects of history," Yuhl said. "But how do you move forward with that legacy and do good work that’s meaningful?"

Yuhl stresses the importance of recognizing the Gibbes' troubled past, rather than washing over it, and that this process will take time and care. "I really commend what they're trying to do," Yuhl said. "It's going to be a decades-long process that has to mirror ... changes in the social and political dynamics in the city as well."

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