Perhaps you have not heard that Hal Nelson, Director of the Long
Beach Museum of Art, has been unceremoniously dismissed by the
museum’s Board of Directors.
I wish that I knew and could share exactly why this has happened.
What is said to be at the heart of the matter to the Board ( in what
order of precedence I’m not sure) are 2 issues; that they didn’t
agree with Hal’s choices of exhibitions ( and in addition was too
independent of Board oversight) and that the exhibitions were too
Nevertheless, Hal’s contribution to that institution;
to the edification of it’s visitors; ( “craft” openings very well
the historic perspective with which he has organized LBMA’s
to the physical transformation of the museum;
to the leadership which resulted in a great working team
to his dedicated proselytizing for LBMA and the arts
his personal contribution to putting LBMA on the national cultural
map to his recognition of the importance of “decorative” arts place
in the American Art world have EARNED him the respect and gratitude of
everyone who cares of such issues, LBMA’s Board most of all.
Hal Nelson’s dismissal, without the recognition he deserves and in
the very midst of great exhibitions he has worked so hard to create
is very hard to accept. But his personal treatment is one issue. Also
of great concern is the future of LBMA and it’s vision. Nelson has
been systmatically documenting the transition of CRAFTS into ART. He
has a significant role in the recogniton of the top "craft " artists
as perhaps the most innovative in America today. Will the Board turn
back time and go back to pleasant shows of unsurprising concept? Will
they close the door to the crafts community that Hal has opened? Or,
will they realize what visionary shows contributes to the very
existence of the museum, the vitality of art discourse in the
community and art scholarship for the future?
If you value this man’s contribution or, if you know nothing about
him or LBMA but you believe in the importance of the art work being
done in the “decorative” fields then perhaps you speak up?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You could help Hal and co-curator Bernard by attending the long
awaited opening of “Painting with Fire” ( perhaps the most
significant museum profile of the AMERICAN ENAMEL movement of the
mid 20th C) by attending the opening at the Long Beach Museum of Art
on Thursday, January 11, 07 at 7-9 pm. If you can be there by 6 pm,
for the VIP preview, please RSVP to the Museum at 562-439-2119 or
firstname.lastname@example.org, Hal would appreciate your support!
You could send an email care of Ron Nelson email@example.com ( no
relation, acting Director and fine person!) to bring to the Museum
Board meeting on Tuesday Dec 12. You could write in support of Hal as
director of the museum and/or you could write in support of the
important shows of American Craft/ Art movements.
You could suggest that the museum properly honor it’s outgoing
director after 18 years of dedicated, visionary service!
Share this message with others?
thank you, Marianne