Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Being the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2020 means that you’re at the helm of one of the most iconic institutions in the country, but also that you’re in charge of a cultural juggernaut currently facing a litany of critiques coming from both outside and inside the house. Last year, the Met agreed to stop taking Sackler family money due to their role in the opioid crisis. This year, the upheaval triggered by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic meant that the Met had to shut down for months and begin to reckon with its own institutional racism simultaneously.
Through it all, Hollein has worked hard to shake up a museum that has inarguably prioritized Western and European art to this day. The director has thus far commissioned two contemporary exhibitions by people of color for the Met and hired Denise Murrell, the curator of the exhibition “Posing Modernity: The Black Model From Manet and Matisse to Today,” as an associate curator for 19th- and 20th-century art.
But there’s much, much more work still to be done. “If you have one of the greatest collections you almost have an obligation to recontextualize it in regard to the narratives it provides,” Hollein told the New York Times in 2019. “I want to make sure it’s not only one voice but multiple voices.” We hope this work continues.