The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has announced that Jova Lynne will be returning to the institution as Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator. Lynne—who began her initial stint at MOCAD as a curatorial fellow in 2017, becoming a curator there in December 2019—was one of three Black curators who departed the museum this past spring in protest over the actions of then-director Elysia Borowy-Reeder, who was accused of racism, sexism, and “exploitative labor practices,” which in Lynne’s case included pressuring the curator to return to work while laid off in the Covid-19 pandemic, and in the middle of a family emergency.
Reeder was terminated in late July, following an investigation into her behavior, which determined that “her leadership fell short of [board] goals for diversity, inclusivity and a healthy work environment.” In the wake of the debacle, the museum has been working to recover, with a stated mission of focusing on equity. “The board of directors emerges from that restructuring with action that charts the Museum on a course to being an equitable arts organization,” said the museum in a statement.
Lynne, a multidisciplinary conceptual artist and independent curator, is focused on facilitating inclusive and community-based practices. Prior to coming to MOCAD, she worked at Museum of Moving Image in Queens, New York, and at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. She is additionally a founder of Detroit’s Bulk Space, which offers studio space to marginalized artists. Lynne is organizing “Dual Vision,” an exhibition of 42 Detroit artists slated to open February 2021.
“My commitment to Detroit inspires me to hold MOCAD to the highest standards of contemporary arts, museum and community-based practices,” said Lynne in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Board, Museum staff, visitors and artists as we embark on MOCAD’s next chapter. Together we will shape a museum that truly reflects the thoughts, needs and creativity of our communities.”