The museum’s head Jay Xu said the decision was inspired by recent Black Lives Matter protests

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Source: Wally Gobetz/Flickr/Artforum

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum has taken down the statue of its founder Avery Brundage, which stood in the foyer for nearly five decades, and moved it into storage, Artforum reports.

Public debate on monuments to racists made the museum to respond to protesters. Demands to remove the bust have been heard since 2016, when the museum’s staff, preparing for the institution’s fiftieth-anniversary celebrations, learnt about the founder’s controversial actions.

Sports administrator Avery Brundage was the fifth president of International Olympic Committee. In 1966, he founded the museum to display his collection of 8,000 artworks. The racist story began in 1936, when he protested against boycotting the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany. Also, Avery supported the America First movement that was against the United States’ entry in World War II.

In 1968, he expelled two African American athletes – Tommie Smith and John Carlos – after their famous gesture of raising fists in solidarity with the Black Power movement during the medal ceremony.

The museum director Jay Xu said the museum would revise Brundage’s legacy as well as the provenance of some of the works and would probably discuss restitution.

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