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Emmit Till…And Racial Re-Appropriation in Art

28 Jul

Now it is “wrong” fora white artist to paint a black subject? To express in art anything about black history?

Methinks there are indeed too snowflakery about and way too much snowfuckery…

That New Jim Crow – Sometime he seem to work both sides of the street,

Protesters Want This Painting of Emmett Till Destroyed—Because the Artist Is White

Artist Hannah Black has launched a petition calling on the Whitney to remove and destroy the painting, Dana Schutz’s ‘Open Casket,’ currently on show at the museum’s Biennial show.

Before it opened to the public, the 2017 Whitney Biennial was lauded by critics for deftly addressing the political and cultural turbulence of our times—not just the Trump era, but our country’s broader socio-political climate and racial tensions during the Obama years as well.

A group of protesters have arrived at a different conclusion: the Biennial has exploited the black experience by displaying a white artist’s painting of Emmett Till, the teenager who was brutally murdered by two white men in 1955.

British artist Hannah Black has launched a petition calling on the Whitney to remove and destroy the painting, Dana Schutz’s Open Casket, which depicts Till’s bludgeoned face as seen in a photograph of his open-casket funeral service.

A handful of people also protested the painting in person last Friday, the Biennial’s opening day, standing in front of it to block it from public view.

More than thirty people have signed the petition, which began circulating Facebook on Monday afternoon. “That even the disfigured corpse of a child was not sufficient to move the white gaze from its habitual cold calculation is evident daily and in a myriad of ways, not least the fact that this painting exists at all,” the petition reads.

A number of original signatories’ names were scrubbed on Monday because they were white; responding to criticism, Black commented on her Facebook post that it was “better to include only black signatories.” The artist declined to speak to The Daily Beast beyond what she wrote in her public statement, which argues that it is “not acceptable for a white person to transmute Black suffering into profit and fun.”

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Schutz said the painting was “never for sale and never will be.” Schutz, who has two other paintings on view at the Biennial, said she created the painting in August 2016, “after a long, violent summer of mass shootings, rallies filled with hate speech, and an ever-escalating number of camera phone videos of black men being shot execution style by police.”

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2017 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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