The letter also addresses the museum’s newly formed DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) council and task forces, stating that members of the council are tasked with “balancing their full-time positions without budget, work release, additional compensation, or benefits.” It goes on to criticize the museum for its refusal to publicly state the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” especially in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality and racism. President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, James Cuno, issued an apology in early June about the oversight.
A current museum employee who wished to remain anonymous told Hyperallergic
that the letter was spurred, in part, by a town hall Zoom meeting on June 16th. The source alleges that staff members were muted throughout the meeting’s duration, and were unable to send questions to leadership via the chat thread, reflecting the hierarchical dynamic and lack of transparency at the institution.
This open letter comes as art institutions nationwide are being called to account by current and former staff for their roles in upholding white supremacy. Five senior staffers have resigned from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
(SFMOMA) following weeks of upheaval over racism within the museum; the museum has since announced
a DEI Plan to be completed by the end of the year. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
, the New Orleans Museum of Art
, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts are also among the institutions facing a backlash
and calls for increased racial equity.