Recently, I’ve been reading in various news articles about the resignations of top trustees at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. According to these articles, the chairwomen and the vice-chairwomen of the board of trustees have resigned because of controversy surrounding an two international initiatives with Cuba. These two chairwomen say that the issues stem from the museum leadership’s desire to create a $2.5 million replica of a statue of a Cuban leader to send down to Cuba, as well as to participate in an art exchange with Havana that they say is almost guaranteed to fall through on Cuba’s end. The argument has also been made that the museum is spending too much time and resources focusing on working with Cuba while they neglect the social and economic issues in their backyard. Local Cuban artists add that the museum has frequently been selective in choosing Cuban artists to represent in the galleries while others feel that the museum exploits the Bronx’s troubled past. And while the two chairwomen claim to have brought these issues as well as others to light before, the museum appears to be ‘perplexed’ as to why these two women have resigned and maintain their full support of the director and the museum’s initiatives.
Shortly after the two chairwomen resigned, four more board members resigned for what the museum claims are unrelated reasons: “In no way is the museum experiencing any mass exodus of trustees in solidarity with [chairwomen] Laura and Mary Beth.” Now, the museum has appointed two new board leaders to in the interim and maintain that their director, Holly Block, has their full support.
While it is difficult to say who is right or wrong in this situation, it is clear that there is something fishy going on at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Why would the museum not address the issues brought up by the two chairwomen and the local Cuban population before? Why does the museum seem surprised that the two chairwomen resigned if they had already expressed concerns before that were not addressed? Why would four more board members suddenly resign for unrelated reasons? Do you think the museum is sweeping these issues under the rug by appointing new board members and not addressing the issues at hand? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Here are some of the articles I’ve been reading on this subject:
- New York Times: “Resignations at the Bronx Museum Over a Costly International Push”
- Wall Street Journal: “Two Top Trustees Resign From Bronx Museum of the Arts”
- DNAInfo: “Bronx Arts Museum Loses 6 Board Members in a Week”
- New York Times: “Bronx Museum Names New Board Leaders After Resignations”
- ArtNews: “Bronx Museum of the Arts Names Interim Board Leadership Days After Major Resignations”