Baltimore Museum of Art Security Guards Take the Helm to Curate Exhibition

By Tessa Solomon, For Art News

A museum’s security guards are entrusted with safeguarding the institution’s priceless treasures. In the course of their jobs, they spend countless hours with these collection of art objects. What stories might they believe are the most important ones for visitors to know about the art they see daily?

“Guarding the Art,” a forthcoming exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, will answer that question when it opens next March. Curated by 17 of the museum’s guards, the show aims to highlight the perspectives of a critical yet overlooked workforce at the museum.

Conceived earlier this year, “Guarding the Art” is part of the BMA’s numerous diversity and inclusion initiatives that it has been rolling out over the past few years. These include controversial sales of artworks by white male artists to expand their holdings of works by women and artists of color in 2018 and a promise to raise wages for several of the museum’s entry-level positions.

In an interview, BMA director Christopher Bedford said that he wanted to push against the idea that the museum’s curators could be the only ones qualified to organize an exhibition. “The vast majority of people have a relationship to creative production that is intimate,” he said. “In a sense it’s an experimental show, but it’s also entirely sensible given the familiarity the guards have with the objects.”

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