Friday, July 28, 2017

Dana Schutz

Just opened at Boston's ICA: an exhibition of the work of Dana Schutz. Schutz is the painter whose powerful depiction of murdered and tortured 14-year-old  Emmet Till in his casket caused such a stir when shown at the Whitney Biennial. Some tried to shut the show down, on the grounds that for a white artist like Schutz to depict the suffering of blacks could be nothing but cultural appropriation, or some such nauseating pseudo-lefty malarkey. Never mind that Emmett Till's mother made a point of leaving her son's casket open so all — even whites! — could see and reckon with the fate of her son.

Hannah Black, author of the open letter to curators and staff at the Whitney that has made her name in some circles, is English. Her home turf is London. Should she get hit by a car in Boston, say, across the street from me, should I lend a hand? Or would that be an act of obviously insincere cultural  not to mention geographic appropriation?

You really don't need Stalin to have Stalinists. The urge to purge goes on. Then again, I'm not sure Hannah Black is any sort of lefty, not even of the sick and censorious Stalinist persuasion. These days certain expressions of the left wrap around perfectly into expressions of the right.

But away with such gloomy thoughts! Summer always brings out the best at the ICA, which I hope to visit this weekend.

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