Gala Porras-Kim
Letters to Institutions


Letters to Institutions

Since 2019, Gala Porras-Kim has written several letters to prompt museums and archaeological institutes to reconsider the way in which they make conservation and restoration decisions. In her writing, Gala suggests the objects’ intended destiny might be distinct from the one imposed by the institution. She invites her addressees to think together with her about speculative proposals that try to return dignity and personhood to the people whose objects and remains are now kept in controlled conservation. These letters have become an integral part of her artwork. Thus far, the Peabody Museum in Cambridge is the only institution that has responded to her correspondence. Three of the letters published here are featured in our exhibition.
Leaving the institution through cremation is easier than as a result of a deaccession policy
Letter to Mr. Alexander Kellner, Director, National Museum of Brazil.
Los Angeles, July 31st, 2021.
Imprint of a human hand on paper in a display case
Mediating with the rain
Letter to Ms. Jane Pickering, William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director, Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Harvard University, New York City, November 20, 2021.
Close-up installation view of sculpture "Mediating with the rain," a large block of copal resin bound together with dust collected from various archaeological archives. The closeup centers on a small area damp with water collecting on the surface.
Proposal for the reconstituting of ritual elements of the Sun Pyramid at Teotihuacán
Letter to Mr. Juan Manuel Garibay Barrera, National Coordinator of Museums and Expositions in Mexico, Los Angeles, January 20, 2019.
Install view of two sculptures, replicas of steles taken from the sun pyramid at Teotihuacan, as well as a large black charcoal piece which is solid black, the charcoal layered so thickly that the work appears to be a rectangular slab of dark stone.
A terminal escape from the place that binds us
Letter to Ms. Soomi Lee, Director Gwangju National Museum, Los Angeles, February 16th, 2021