The security guards of a museum are entrusted with the safeguarding of the priceless treasures in the institution. During their job, they spend all their hours with these art object collections. The stories they believe are the most important ones for the ones who visit to know about the art gallery they see regularly. “Guarding the Art” is an upcoming exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art that will answer all the questions upon its opening. 17 of the guards are curating this show. This show aims to highlight the perspective of the critically overlooked ones.
Guarding the Art is one of the numerous initiatives of BMA, which is diverse. The initiatives include the controversial sales of the artworks of the white male artist. It expands the holding of their works which boasts the women artists and the artists of color in 2018. Also, it is a promise to raise the wages for several of the entry-level positions of the museum.
In an interview, the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Christopher Bedford, said that he wanted to push the idea against the organization of the exhibitions with only the curators.
The art historian and the curator, Lowery Stokes Sims, will work as an advisor to this exhibition. It will present the works which are ranging widely from the medium and the historical periods. The guards will also have their involvement in producing the catalog of the exhibition and in the installation design. They will accompany the show for public programming.
Though the planning of the exhibition is still in progress, several works that will get inclusion have already been revealed. A focus on the passage of time is the recurring theme this time. The curators have avoided the selection of the blockbuster pieces in the museum. Rather they will focus on the spotlighting of the lesser-known and inspiring works.
One of the guards, Dereck Mangus, has chosen an often overlooked painting of Thomas Ruckle, House of Fredrick Crey. Alex Lei has selected Winslow Homer’s Waiting and Answer.
“It’s framed as this moment of waiting—I can relate to that,” Lei said, “A lot of my time is spent waiting for guests to come [into the galleries], waiting for someone to ask a question about the Art. In the meantime, we’re interacting with the artwork. We spend so much time with the Art that we can offer more information than what’s on the plaque.”
Lei thinks this show will change the perspective of looking at them and the artworks of the museum.