Renowned Art Museum Curator Steps Down after Refusing to Exclude Works by White Male Artists

Gary Garrels, one of the top art curators in the nation, resigned this week after refusing to exclude works of white male artists.

Garrels was the chief curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art since 2008.

Gary Garrels said not presenting art by white male artists was reverse discrimination.
This statement was very offensive to staff and community members who accused him of “white supremacist” language.

He was out within a month.

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The Washington Examiner reported:

An art museum curator has resigned from his post at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art after outraging members of his staff by refusing to exclude white male artists.

Gary Garrels, the senior curator of painting and sculpture, was the target of a petition that garnered just over 250 signatures this month demanding that he resign after he refused to exclude white male artists. The petition stated that Garrels offended many members of the staff by mentioning that the museum would “definitely still continue to collect white artists” during a presentation about diversifying collection efforts to include more work from nonwhite artists.

“Through actions and words, Gary has been obtuse (at best) to the point of offense or deliberately racist (at worst) in his retorts to criticism. When pressed on the museum’s collecting policies he has repeatedly said some variation of ‘don’t worry, we will continue to collect white male artists.’ Amongst SFMOMA staff as well as in public view, Gary has used and continued to use white supremacist and racist language such as ‘reverse racism.’ This has been documented,” the petition said.

“Gary’s removal from SFMOMA is non-negotiable,” it added. “Considering his lengthy tenure at this institution, we ask just how long have his toxic white supremacist beliefs regarding race and equity directed his position curating the content of the museum? … In light of the above, the most appropriate path toward the change SFMOMA has committed itself to is for Gary Garrels to no longer be part of the institution.”

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