“This is a time of significant evolution for the museum.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has made an announcement that it hired its first-ever full-time Native American art curator. Her name is Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha) and she will work in the museum’s American Wing as the Met’s inaugural associate curator of Native American art. Starting on September 14, ex-senior executive and assistant director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York will also work to facilitate long-term relationships between Indigenous communities and the museum.
“Historical and contemporary Native American art embodies and confronts the environmental, religious, and economic disruptions that Indigenous communities have so powerfully negotiated—and still negotiate — through a balance of beauty, tradition, and innovation,” Norby said in a statement. “I am deeply honored to join with American Indian and Indigenous artists and communities in advancing our diverse experiences and voices in The Met’s exhibitions, collections, and programs. This is a time of significant evolution for the museum.”
This is a great step forward for the Met, following its 13-point anti-racism and diversity plan in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in July, as the institution came under scrutiny back in 2018 for an exhibition of indigenous objects that, a Native American advocacy group said, violated ethical practices. The executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA), Shannon O’Loughlin, argued that the curators “did not consult with affiliated tribal representatives to perform their due diligence, but their first mistake was to call these objects art” and urged the museum to remove the items from the exhibition until tribal government representatives were consulted.