AICA-USA stands in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives

AICA-USA is outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and thousands of others who have died because of racial injustice in the United States, often at the hands of American police.

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives in condemning these murders, as well as the continued violence against protestors, the flagrant misrepresentation of peaceful protests by the media, and the unequal responses in the allocation of resources and community services between these protests and the COVID-19 crisis, which disproportionately affects communities of color.

We join in condemning museums, institutions, and art organizations that have partnered with, used, and benefited from militarized police, arms contractors, and other carceral structures while neglecting resources and support for communities of color.

In solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives, we declare our commitment to the following demands:

  • Protest is a constitutionally protected form of free speech and all violence against protestors must cease immediately. Similarly, the rights of journalists, photographers, and filmmakers to report on and record protests must be respected. Curfews violate individuals’ constitutional right to free speech, freedom of assembly, and free movement; all demonstrators who are facing charges for violating curfew must be fully cleared.
  • Art institutions must divest from police organizations (such as by moving security functions into staff) and must remove defense contractors from their boards.
  • Museum educators, docents, and security guards are among the most diverse departments within many museums, and are often directly responsible for conducting outreach to disaffected communities. Museums must do all they can to protect educators and other frontline staff during the COVID-19 crisis, such as by guaranteeing full-time pay and healthcare to furloughed employees. Additionally, institutions must diversify other departments, including management, so that educators and security are not isolated wells of diversity within otherwise homogeneous organizations.
  • Art institutions must publish plans of action detailing new internal anti-racist initiatives for their organization.

We believe the above demands to be in accordance with the original intentions behind the founding of AICA International and with AICA-USA’s stated purposes according to our bylaws:

  • to advance and protect art criticism as a profession in the United States;
  • to encourage and support younger art critics as well as established critics around the United States;
  • to facilitate communication among art critics about common concerns;
  • to promote the values of art criticism as a discipline and to emphasize its contribution to society;
  • to act on behalf of the physical preservation and moral defense of works of art;
  • to arrange for and hold seminars open to the public for the purpose of educating the public in the appreciation of art; ll
  • to arrange for and hold meetings in New York of international artists and art critics to discuss methods of bringing art and art education to the general public;
  • to print and distribute pamp hlets, brochures, and catalogs to be used in conjunction with the seminars and for the education of the general public;
  • to produce materials for the general media for dissemination to the public for its education and enlightenment and for all similar purposes;
  • to contribute to the rapprochement and mutual understanding of different cultures through an understanding of their art;
  • to develop professional and ethical standards for the field of art criticism.

Art Critics in Times of Crisis

AICA-USA is the US chapter of an international organization representing art critics in over 63 countries. We recognize the role that critical discourse has in times of crisis. AICA-USA encourages members to consider how they can take an active role in the fight to save black lives, including by writing to hold museums accountable to their declared commitment to causes, and reviewing more shows by artists of color.

Free speech is contingent on open speech, and so we call on museums, galleries, and arts-media publications to publish their plans of actions, so that all can be debated in the public sphere.

We Pledge to Become a Diverse, Inclusive, and Anti-Racist Organization

We pledge that in the following weeks AICA-USA will release an action plan to diversify our membership and positions across all levels of our organization. Our plan will also address how AICA-USA can fight for diversity and inclusivity in the arts, including but not limited to, by refusing to award and collaborate with museums and galleries who support racism (such as by contracting off-duty police officers for security and allowing arms contractors to serve on boards) and by increasing the diversity of our own lecturers and programmers.

AICA-USA respects the right to free speech and dissenting opinions—and will always defend them. We are committed to making AICA-USA a diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist organization.

Today we say, no more.

Black lives matter.

AICA supports art writers around the world through public programs and membership that includes free access to museums across the globe. Since its formation in 1950, AICA has been committed to elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.
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About AICA

AICA supports arts writers around the world through public programs and membership that offers free access to museums across the globe. AICA-USA represents the largest national section of AICA International with over 450 distinguished critics, curators, scholars, and art historians working throughout the United States. As part of the international organization, we benefit from a global reach in presence. AICA-USA is intent on international communication, elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.

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Membership Benefits

AICA's membership card is recognized for entrance to museums around the world. Members are invited to attend the annual AICA International Congress, hosted each year by a different member nation, and the AICA-USA annual meeting.

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Featured Programs

Every fall, in cooperation with the New School's Vera List Center for Art and Politics, AICA-USA presents a Distinguished Critic Lecture.

Organized in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, this program matches emerging critics with experienced AICA-USA members who guide them through the process of writing a catalogue essay.

A partnership between The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and AICA-USA that gives art writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one consultations with leading art critics.

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