The Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced today $1.5 million in grants to support initiatives at New York City museums dedicated to providing visibility to artists from overlooked and underrepresented groups. The first-round of grant recipients are the Africa Center, the Bronx Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA PS1, El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York, the Queens Museum, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, each of which will receive six-figure grants to develop new projects or further existing ones focused on New York’s local creative community through educational programming, residencies, or rent-free studio space.
“Established museums offer access to the networks, relationships, public audiences, and long-term resources needed to sustain a creative career, but their traditional structures often exclude BIPOC, LGBTQ, and women artists from those opportunities,” Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas, a program director for Arts & Culture at the RBF, said in a statement of the museums selected for the grants. “The arts and cultural organizations of New York, a global creative capital and one of the most diverse cities on earth, have a special responsibility to their home city and to the global arts community to deconstruct those hurdles and set a model for the sector to transform its approaches to diversity and representation.”
Among the projects that the funds will underwrite are major exhibitions of New York–based women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ artists across the city. The Bronx Museum will use the money it has toward four solo exhibitions of New York artists, including “Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch,” which is now on view through January 24. The survey features more than 50 quilt-based works from the artist’s sprawling “Codex” series, in which sculptures and mixed media paintings are incorporated into, or made from, pre-1900 American quilts.
The first retrospective of performance and conceptual artist and critic Lorraine O’Grady, titled “Both/And,” is scheduled to open next March at the Brooklyn Museum. The show will look at 12 major projects produced over her four-decade career, as well as debut a new installation.
MoMA PS1’s signature exhibition series of contemporary artists in the New York area held once every five-years, “Greater New York,” will be reimagined as a year-round initiative with funds from the grant. “Thinking alongside artists who call this city home is part of PS1’s DNA,” Kate Fowle, director of MoMA PS1, said in a statement, adding that the new program will better “support dynamic practices under the continued duress of the pandemic.”