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Who Owns History?

98 1 0
21.04.2017

NEW YORK – Take a look at the two paintings above. Both draw on iconic photographic images from the ugly and fraught history of race relations in the United States, and both are among the most discussed works featured at the current Whitney Biennial at New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art.

The painting on the left is by a white artist; the one on the right is by an African-American. And that has made all the difference in how the two paintings have been received: the one on the left has become the center of a furious controversy. Soon after the show opened last month, Hannah Black, who identifies herself as an “Artist/Writer” and 2013-2014 Critical Studies fellow of the Whitney’s Independent Study Program, launched a petition drive (supported by dozens of her fellow artists and writers, both black and white) demanding that the painting be removed from the show. But the petition went even further, demanding that the painting be destroyed, so that it could never........

© Project Syndicate