In case you missed it sneak through the news cycle the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Dallas Museum of Art senior curator Gavin Delahunty resigned, leaving only a vague statement released by the museum.
In it, Delahunty seemed to admit inappropriate behavior with an apology — nature of behavior not specified — yet pointed to allegations of said behavior as the reason for his stepping down. No one from the museum will talk, and the statement itself is causing concern for its capacity to silence those who’ve experienced “inappropriate behavior.” It is not clear whether there has been an investigation, although the trade publication ARTnews cited an anonymous source saying there was. Here’s the statement and my original post from Saturday on that part.
In an email Monday afternoon, DMA Communications Director Jill Bernstein declined to elaborate: “The Museum does not disclose information regarding personnel matters. We take any allegation of misconduct very seriously, and draw in legal and other specialized counsel to work with us as needed.”
A few hours later, museum staffers received this email from Brenda Barry, the chief financial officer: “We wanted to follow-up to the announcement of Gavin Delahunty’s resignation on Saturday. Per Museum policy, we are not permitted to discuss personnel matters. As a reminder, it is important that we all refrain from gossip and speculation. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
Councilman Philip Kingston oversees District 14 and the DMA. He learned of Delahunty’s resignation on Facebook and shared there that he “wasn’t thrilled with the secrecy.” Though he was quick to say he appreciates the DMA’s contributions to the city on the phone with me this morning, he said the scant information released will be insufficient for the council as it decides how to allocate funds in future budget talks. The city of Dallas helps pay to maintain the building and chips in for conservation of the museum’s art. The museum was the largest city-owned cultural benefactor of bond funds in the recent proposition; it received an additional $6 million to go toward rehabilitation projects.
“The statement they released did not inspire confidence,” he says. “I’m not saying I need to know everything right now. To say, ‘We’re conducting an investigation,’– it’s important to give Gavin Delahunty a chance to contest the allegations, if he were contesting them—that would have been fine. But there’s a tone of finality that’s inappropriate.”
Come to think of it, Kingston said, there was no official communication before the departure of the museum’s former director Maxwell Anderson, either.