RETRACTION: SFMOMA's 'Portraits' at MoAD

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May 22, 2015: The original article, “A Lost Opportunity: SFMOMA’S ‘Portraits’ at MoAD,” was removed from KQED’s website. After posting the article on May 19, we learned that certain assertions in the piece were either incomplete or inaccurate. These statements formed the basis for some of the article's author Roula Seikaly’s conclusions about the exhibition. After investigating further, we concluded that Seikaly’s reporting did not accurately portray the partnership between the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) leading up to the exhibition Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA. It’s our job to make sure the information we publish is true. KQED Arts regrets posting an article that was not properly reported.

In the story, Seikaly criticized what she saw as an unequal working relationship between the curators at the two partner institutions. The writer’s opinions of that relationship were based on an interview with curator Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, who was contracted as an independent curator at MoAD for the exhibition. LeFalle-Collins repeatedly asserted (in person and by email correspondence) that she was forbidden by both SFMOMA and MoAD employees to contact the artists included in the exhibition while she was trying to craft her exhibition texts.

SFMOMA curator Caitlin Haskell, On the Go program director Janet Bishop and MoAD director Linda Harrison all directly contradicted LeFalle-Collins’ statements via emails to Seikaly. But in the story that ran, Seikaly chose to focus exclusively on LeFalle-Collins’ perspective, leading to an unbalanced critique.

Realizing the piece contained an incomplete version of events, KQED Arts removed the story from the KQED Arts site for two days to undergo further investigation into the claims of both parties.

SFMOMA provided us with three email headers dated from Nov. 4, 2014 through Apr. 1, 2015, so we know that LeFalle-Collins, SFMOMA employees and at least one artist exchanged correspondence at various points in the exhibition-making process. The actual content of those correspondences is confidential. As SFMOMA explains, “Out of respect for the privacy and confidential business practices of our artists, museum partners and curatorial staff, we do not share the contents of correspondence relating to their exhibitions with the media.”


KQED Arts takes full responsibility for the original publication and later retraction of the article.