Allegations that publicly surfaced when we opened this exhibition in November 2014, now combined with recent criminal charges brought against Mr. Cosby in Pennsylvania, cast a negative light on what should be a joyful exploration of African and African American art in this gallery.
The National Museum of African Art in no way condones Mr. Cosby’s behavior. We continue to present Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue because it is fundamentally about the artworks and the artists who created them, not Mr. Cosby.
Most of the objects are from the permanent collection of the National Museum of African Art. About one-third are on loan from Camille and Bill Cosby. Though the exhibition does recognize their role in assembling those works, the purpose of the exhibition is to examine the interplay of artistic creativity in African and African American art—something that has been part of our museum’s history since our founding more than 50 years ago. The exhibition brings public attention to artists whose art has not been seen, art that tells powerful and poignant stories about African American experiences.
We invite you, our valued visitors, to provide your comments in the Visitor Book we have placed in the hallway at the exit to this exhibition. You can also email your comments. This exhibition closes January 24.