Meg Onli will be a part of the Underground Museum in Los Angeles as director and curator, co-leading the museum with director and chief operations officer Cristina Pacheco.
Onli joins the museum from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the place she was a curator. Pacheco has been co-interim director and chief operations officer since 2020, and has served on the board of the Underground Museum since 2015.
“The co-leader mannequin looks like the long run,” Onli mentioned in a current cellphone interview. “The UM has at all times been a collective, so working collaboratively is pure.”
In 2012, the artists Noah and Karon Davis based the Underground Museum in 4 transformed storefronts within the Arlington Heights neighborhood of central Los Angeles. Three years later, Noah Davis died. All through its existence, the museum has been a gathering place for people in the neighborhood and a destination for Black art. Onli mentioned that she was excited to proceed the couple’s legacy.
“The curatorial observe was one of many issues that drew me to the UM,” Onli mentioned. “The best way Noah was making reveals was in keeping with mine, reveals that have been huge and daring and never constrained.”
Onli has been excited about race and illustration all through her profession. She is the creator of the Black Visible Archive, an internet site dedicated to writing about Black visible tradition. She can be the primary particular person to win the Figure Skating Prize, which is given to Black curators, artists and students.
“What Noah was doing was actually taking a Black lens not solely on Black artwork, however on all types of various artwork,” Onli mentioned. “For me, shifting ahead on the UM, I wish to ask: what does a Black lens appear like throughout all types of various our bodies of labor, not solely Black American artists?”
Onli begins the job on Dec. 1. She mentioned that one among her first priorities will likely be to spend time in Arlington Heights.
“I’m wanting ahead to stepping into the neighborhood and see how the UM matches,” Onli mentioned. “Who’re the people who find themselves coming to the museum, but in addition who’re the folks proudly owning outlets?”
Pacheco talked about the magic of the place, and the significance of connection “even when these issues really feel missing within the wider world,” she mentioned in an announcement. “I hope our museum continues to reveal the ability of artwork.”