|2:45 pm, March 22, 2023.
A group of black artists are protesting a painting by white New York City artist Dana Schutz for racial insensitivity.
Several artists stood in front of the painting, currently on display at the 2017 Whitney Biennial on Friday, physically blocking it from view for several hours.
The work, entitled â€śOpen Casketâ€ť(2016), is based on a famous photograph from the funeral of Emmett Tillâ€”a 14-year-old African American boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being falsely accused ofÂ flirting with a white woman.
Schutzâ€™s painting depicts Tillâ€™s dead body lying in the open-coffin, his mutilated face and chest turned towards the viewer. The boyâ€™s casket was left open at his motherâ€™s request for everyone toÂ witness the brutality of the racist attack to which heâ€™d been victim
One of the artists protesting the work, Parker Bright, wore a t-shirt with the slogan â€śBlack Death Spectacleâ€ť onÂ the back and â€śNo lynch mobâ€ť onÂ the front.
â€śI wanted to confront people with a living, breathing black bodyâ€ť he told the Guardian.
CitingÂ the appropriation of black suffering by white artists as another example of systemic racial oppression, British-born artist Hannah Black penned anÂ open letter to the museum curators demanding that the painting not only be removed, but â€śdestroyedâ€ť and â€śprevented from entering any market or museum.â€ť
â€śThe subject matter is not Schutzâ€™s,â€ť Black wrote on Facebook. â€śWhite free speech and white creative freedom have been founded on the constraint of others, and are not natural rights. The painting must go.â€ť
The note was signed by other artists of color, including Juliana Huxtable. â€śAlthough Schutzâ€™s intention may be to present white shame, this shame is not correctly represented as a painting of a dead Black boy by a white artistâ€”those non-black artists who sincerely wish to highlight the shameful nature of white violence should first of all stop treating black pain as raw material.â€ť