Historic Endowment Gift from Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker Establishes Biennial Commission to Transform BMA’s East Lobby and Improve Diversity in Museum Field
Mickalene Thomas Selected as Inaugural Artist for Site-Specific Installation
BALTIMORE, MD (November 30, 2018)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced today a major new biennial commission made possible by an historic endowment gift from Baltimore philanthropists Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker. As the first named public art commission for a U.S. museum, the Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker Biennial Commission fosters the creation of new works by international contemporary artists, cultivates aspiring curators through a parallel fellowship, and activates the BMA’s East Lobby with publicly accessible art. A priority for the selection of both the artist and the curatorial fellow is to strengthen the diversity of the museum. Internationally renowned contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas has been chosen for the inaugural commission, and applications for the first curatorial fellow will open in December.
“Mickalene Thomas’ installation will transform The Baltimore Museum of Art’s East Lobby by employing a generous language of welcome quite different from what is traditionally associated with cultural institutions and also deeply aligned with the museum’s bold new mission,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “In addition to transforming its public face, the BMA is committed to creating an internal culture of excellence and equity and developing the next generation of museum leaders drawn from diverse backgrounds. Bob and Rheda’s visionary act of generosity has ensured that the world’s most important contemporary artists will make new, adventurous work for the City of Baltimore, while also providing for a permanent fellowship designed to change the pathway into museum leadership in the 21st century. No gift could carry greater significance for the future of this institution.”