The Getty Institute is working to preserve rich and historic Black artwork. According to the New York Times, the Los Angeles-based institution announced the creation of a new program that is centered on research surrounding African American artists and their work.
Dubbed the African American Art History Initiative, the research center will focus on acquiring pieces and spearheading research projects that will provide more context about artists connected to the African Diaspora, the news outlet writes. The institute will team up with museums and organizations to push the research forward. Amongst institutions that they will partner with include Spelman College, Art+Practice, the California African American Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
“The study of African American art history is fundamental to a comprehensive understanding of American art history. We aim to bring our resources, talents, and relationships together to promote advanced research in an area of American art that has been underfunded and under researched,” James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust said in a statement.
The project has a budget of $5 million. One of the first acquisitions under the initiative is the work of assemblage artist Betye Saar. “Saar is one of the major African-American artists in the region, somebody whom artists like John Outterbridge and David Hammons look up to. And she was born in 1926, so to start with something this wide-ranging is wonderful,” historian and project consultant Kellie Jones told the news outlet. She also added that the collaborative aspect of the project will “help move important archives out into other facets of the contemporary art world, whether the classroom or the museum.”
There has been an ongoing effort—especially on the West Coast—to preserve historic elements of Black culture. Earlier this year, the African American Museum & Library at Oakland received a grant that will allow them to digitize rare footage of protests that took place during the 60s and 70s.