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‘It’s Time’: Brooklyn Museum’s Anne Pasternak Joins #MeToo, Sharing Experience of Assault

On Instagram, the curator affirmed her support for the #MeToo movement, in response to the Kavanaugh allegations

Anne Pasternak. Courtesy: Brooklyn Museum; photograph: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Anne Pasternak. Courtesy: Brooklyn Museum; photograph: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Anne Pasternak. Courtesy: Brooklyn Museum; photograph: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak has joined the #MeToo movement, sharing her experiences of sexual assault in an Instagram post. Pasternak’s statement came in response to the current sexual misconduct allegations against US president Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In an Instagram post this week, Pasternak wrote: ‘#Mood I have been sexually assaulted numerous times from my teenage years to adulthood.’ Pasternak referenced the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kavanaugh denies the allegation. Both Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee last week. ‘Watching this week’s travesty against decency has been painful,’ Pasternak wrote.

Pasternak’s post, accompanied by a single blacked out square, added: ‘And, once again, it has made clear why only roughly 30% of rape victims come forward to report their assaults. It is time for new narratives that treat women – and all people – with respect and dignity. It is time for men and women to stand against harmful patriarchal narratives that support rape culture. It is time all leaders act with integrity. It is time […] Thank you #drchristineblaseyford for your courage. #metoo’.

Pasternak joined New York’s Brooklyn Museum as director in 2015. Prior to that, she was the longtime director of the public art nonprofit Creative Time. Earlier this year, Pasternak spoke in interview about showcasing the work of women artists and the responsibility of the museum’s collecting policy: ‘We’re looking at the areas where people haven’t caught up and great work is still available to us. Equally it’s about including those who’ve historically been missed out,’ she said. ‘In an ideal world, this collecting by category wouldn’t be the case. But why ignore the truth? I’d rather help correct the situation than continue the inequity.’ 

On Tuesday, Trump mocked Blasey Ford’s testimony while speaking to a rally in Mississippi. ‘What neighbourhood was it in? I don’t know,’ he said. ‘But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember. And a man’s life is in tatters.’ Just days before Trump described Ford as a ‘compelling witness’ and ordered the FBI to investigate claims made during the hearing, at the recommendation of Republican senators Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

Pasternak will appear in conversation in London this Friday 5 October at 3pm with Frans Hals Museum director Ann Demeester, Courtauld director Deborah Swallow and frieze magazine editorial director Jennifer Higgie as part of Frieze Masters Talks.

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