Martha Buskirk article “The Ethics of Dust” on artist Gala Porras-Kim in Artforum Magazine.

March 11, 2022

In her article “The Ethics of Dust” for the March 2022 issue of Artforum, professor Martha Buskirk explores the many and varied ways that artist Gala Porras-Kim has responded to museum conventions through work that interrogates collecting and preservation practices, including legal versus spiritual ownership, and ongoing restitution demands. Porras-Kim’s 254 offerings for the rain at the Peabody Museum, 2021 (reproduced on Artforum’s March cover) depicts artifacts held by Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology that were dredged from the Sacred Cenote at Chichén Itzá. Buskirk describes how Porras-Kim’s proposals to reunite these offerings with their previous owner, Chaac, the Mayan rain god, reflect her creative response to the many competing interests surrounding objects that have been displaced from their original setting or purpose.