CAAM names Cameron Shaw as government director

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The California African American Museum board of administrators unanimously voted Monday to call Cameron Shaw because the establishment’s new government director.

Since September 2019, Shaw has served as CAAM’s deputy director and chief curator, overseeing curatorial affairs, schooling and public programming and communications and advertising efforts.

Shaw’s appointment follows the retirement of George O. Davis, who was the chief director since 2015.

A local Angeleno, Shaw recalled visiting the museum as a toddler. “CAAM was the job I discovered myself referred to as to, and it feels simply actually proper,” she stated.

As deputy director and chief curator on the state museum, Shaw secured main help together with a $300,000 Artwork Museum Futures grant from the Mellon Basis and a $120,000 Getty Pacific Commonplace Time 2024 analysis grant for “World With out Finish: The George Washington Carver Venture,” which she is co-curating.

Shaw was beforehand the chief director and founding editor of Pelican Bomb, a New Orleans-based up to date artwork nonprofit that operated from 2011 to 2018, centered on exhibitions, public applications and humanities journalism. Since 2008, Shaw has been a contract author and editor for publications together with the New York Occasions and the Los Angeles Overview of Books. She obtained her bachelor’s diploma in artwork historical past from Yale College.

As CAAM’s government director, Shaw stated, she’s going to proceed constructing on her earlier work, together with invigorating the museum’s publishing program, which options unique essays from employees. The seek for a brand new chief curator has not begun but.

A set of 4 investigative themes will information the museum, informing upcoming exhibitions, public applications, publishing efforts and partnerships, Shaw stated.

The 4 themes are:

  • Black abstraction, which explores how artists have used the artwork kind as a software for resistance and self-presentation
  • Black spirituality and ancestral applied sciences, analyzing “the legacy and way forward for Black religious traditions in our nation and all through the African diaspora”
  • Liberating the Black archives, discovering new and artistic methods to make archives accessible
  • Environmental justice, exploring “intersections between Black life and inexperienced justice efforts” and “advocating for secure and equitable entry to inexperienced and leisure areas, mitigating local weather change, documenting shifts in agriculture and labor practices and bettering public well being outcomes”

“I actually consider these pillars can permit us to go deep,” Shaw stated. “That’s what this second is asking of us. And these pillars permit us to current artwork and historical past in a fuller context.”

An art installation of fallen lights and scaffolding

Shaw curated CAAM’s 2020 exhibition “Nikita Gale: Personal Dancer,” which pays homage to Tina Turner’s 1984 album of the identical title.

(Elon Schoenholz)

Shaw has additionally been considering forward to the museum’s fiftieth anniversary in 2027 and the Los Angeles 2028 Summer season Olympics.

“I’m already seeking to these alternatives to share CAAM’s historical past and join with wider audiences in new and modern methods,” she stated. “It’s essential to me that we take into consideration and devise methods that permit us to help Black inventive and scholarly practices extra holistically and comprehensively, so asking what help can we provide financially, administratively and emotionally to usher revolutionary concepts into the world.”

Throughout the pandemic, Shaw led the museum’s pivot from in-person to digital programming, broadening its nationwide viewers. She stated the museum is following state and public well being steering for an in-person return.

“I’ve been so happy with the methods wherein our employees has transitioned,” Shaw stated. “It’s additionally opened up alternatives to consider how we lengthen the work of the museum past the museum partitions. I believe even after COVID, folks’s expectations of how they impart with museums and artwork facilities has modified throughout this era.”

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