Using pictures culled from MOMA's own archives, Wilson constructs a step-by-step photo-essay that also amounts to a kind of smoking gun. It's titled Art in Our Time, but because of a group of pictures of white people shaking hands, it could have been called The Secret Handshake. Wilson simply reveals how white the world of museums has beenexcept for the black faces who work there. Included are images of smiling museum members dressed as cowboys and cowgirls and posing with artworks, and pictures of happy, shiny white children installed by Wilson next to darker-skinned museumgoers, who here look isolated and out of place. One photograph of a lone black custodian can make you cringe; another, of the black painter Jacob Lawrence "discussing" his work with a little white boy, can make you cry.
McShine seems to say we may not need the hordes of people traipsing through museums; we don't have to subscribe to early-'90s multiculturalism; but unless we put the secret handshake behind us, the museum will not be a place that can change the world.