Conversations on Patronage: Expanding the Canon

Presented with In Other Words

15 Feb 2019
Sherry Lansing Theater, Frieze Los Angeles
Paramount Pictures Studios Backlot
Los Angeles, CA 90038
United States

Taking as a starting point the research published by In Other Words and artnet News, which examined the representation of African American artists in US museums and the international market, Charlotte Burns will moderate a conversation with major Californian institutional leaders about the ways in which they are working to broaden the canon, and think specifically about local communities.

Participants: Michael Govan (CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Naima J. Keith (Deputy Director, California African American Museum), Andrew Perchuk, (Deputy Director, Getty Research Institute), Megan Steinman (Director, The Underground Museum)

Moderator: Charlotte Burns (Executive Editor, In Other Words)


Charlotte Burns is the executive editor of In Other Words, a weekly newsletter and podcast. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London. Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.

Michael Govan joined the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) as Chief Executive Officer and Wallis Annenberg Director in 2006. In this role, he oversees all activities of the museum, from art programming to the expansion and upgrade of the museum’s 20-acre campus. During his tenure, LACMA has acquired by donation or purchase more than 32,000 works for the permanent collection, doubled gallery space and programs, and more than doubled its average annual attendance to more than 1.2million. Currently the museum is in the process of building a new, state-of-the-art permanent collection building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor.

Naima J. Keith joined the California African American Museum (CAAM) in 2016 to guide the curatorial and education departments as well as marketing and communications. During her tenure at CAAM, Keith has also curated several exhibitions, including Hank Willis Thomas: Black Righteous Space (2016), Genevieve Gaignard: Smell the Roses (2016), Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle: The Evanesced (2017) and Gary Simmons: Fade to Black (2017–8). She was the 2017 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize in recognition of her contributions to the field of African American art history, and is co-artistic director of Prospect.5 in New Orleans in 2020. Previously an associate curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2011–16), her notable exhibitions include: Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street (2016), Artists in Residence 2014–2015 (2015), Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound (2015), Titus Kaphar (2014), Glenn Kaino (2014), and Robert Pruitt (2013), TheShadows Took Shape (co-curated with Zoe Whitley, 2013), Fore (co-curated with Lauren Haynes and Thomas J. Lax, 2012). Her historical survey, Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974–1989 (2014), traveled to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA spring 2015 and was nominated in 2014 for a “Best Monographic Museum Show in New York” award by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA-USA). Between 2008– 11, Keith worked as a curatorial fellow at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, serving as the primary contact for the groundbreaking exhibition Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980, organized by guest curator Kellie Jones. She has lectured at the Zoma Contemporary Art Center, Columbia University, The Museum of Modern Art, LACMA, USC, MCA Denver, and Brooklyn Museum. Her essays have been featured in publications for The Studio Museum in Harlem, Hammer Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, LAXART, MoMA PS1, and NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art. Keith holds degrees from Spelman College and UCLA and is a proud native of Los Angeles.

Andrew Perchuk is deputy director of the Getty Research Institute. A specialist in modern and contemporary art, Perchuk holds a PhD in art history from Yale University. His publications include The Masculine Masquerade (1996); Allan Kaprow—Art as Life (2008); Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular (2009); Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art, 1945–1980 (2011), which received the 2011 award for outstanding exhibition catalogue from the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC); and Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years (2016). He served as co-director of Pacific Standard Time, which comprised more than sixty museum exhibitions on postwar art in Los Angeles, for which he received a special award for AICA USA. He recently co-lead a project on Jackson Pollock’s Mural, which was published as a special issue of the Getty Research Journal, and co-curated for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA the exhibition Making Art Concrete: Works From Argentina and Brazil in the Collección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros with a publication and a related research project. As the acting director of the GRI in 2018, he initiated the Getty’s African American Art History Initiative and acquired the archive of Betye Saar.

Megan Steinman is an independent curator, writer, and producer with over 20 years of experience in the arts, entertainment and culture industries. She is currently the Director of The Underground Museum in Los Angeles. Megan has organized exhibitions, art installations and events at institutions around the world, including Dolby Gallery, Museo Pecci Milano, Sonos Studio Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, District Berlin, ICA Boston, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Her public programs include a live software-art workshop with Casey Reas and UCLA’s Design Media Arts department and “Transmission of Trio A” with Yvonne Rainer. She has written for several artist publications and exhibition catalogs, including Edges of the Experiment by Marie-Josè Jongerius (2014, Fw: Books Amsterdam) and Dance/Draw at ICA Boston (2011, Hatje Cantz). Her published thesis, “The Kinesthetic Citizen: Dance and Critical Art Practices” (2011), examines the kinesthetic experience of six contemporary dance-based art works through the lens of political and spatial theories in order to locate political empathy in everyday movement, social encounters and lived experiences. Megan holds a Master of Public Art Studies from the University of Southern California Roski School of Fine Art. Prior to graduate school, she was the Creative Director for Capitol Records. From 2000-2004, Megan was the chief researcher, producer and artist liaison for photographer Annie Leibovitz’s book “American Music.”