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Presented by Honors Program and BFA Visual & Critical Studies

Christopher Bedford: Structural Change in American Art Museums

Feb 5, 2021; 7:00 - 8:30pm
Installation view of Tavares Strachan’s work In Broad Daylight, installed at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2018. A neoclassical style building at dusk features neon lights that read "In Broad Daylight" in reddish orange.

Installation view of Tavares Strachan’s work In Broad Daylight, installed at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2018. Courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Art, photography by Mitro Hood.

The need for structural change in American art museums is deep and long standing. Over the past 12 months, in particular, activists within and outside museums have demanded that institutions reckon with their histories and chart an immediate course forward rooted in equity and diversity. These just calls for change go beyond programmatic adjustments to exhibitions, acquisitions and public programs to embrace structural changes focused on board and staff composition, compensation, vendor selection and investment policies, among other things. This talk by Christopher Bedford will examine the importance and immediacy of this change agenda, and the Baltimore Museum of Art’s commitment to it, including successes to date, challenges encountered and plans for the future.


Christopher Bedford is the Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and the 10th director to lead the museum, which is renowned for its outstanding collections of 19th-century, modern and contemporary art. Recognized as an innovative and dynamic leader, Bedford served as director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University for four years prior to joining the BMA and was appointed as Commissioner for the U.S. Pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale. His previous experience includes curatorial positions at the Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and J. Paul Getty Museum. Born in Scotland and raised in the United States and the United Kingdom, Bedford has a B.A. from Oberlin College, an M.A. from Case Western Reserve University, and has studied in the doctoral programs at the University of Southern California and the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London.


On the Art & Politics Lecture Series:

Humanity is living through an interlocking series of crises. It is difficult to say strongly enough how urgent the situation is. How do these conditions impact the arts? Does art have resources that might come to our aid in these serious times? What is to be done? In light of all there is to understand and to change, SVA's Art & Politics Lecture Series, co-hosted by the BFA Visual & Critical Studies and Honors Program, invites activists, scholars, politicians, artists, critics, historians, curators and scientists, to address, discuss and debate politics, art and the delicate filaments that tie them together.


Note: All events listed on sva.edu/events are in Eastern Time (ET).

Free and open to the public