Lecture (2/13) - At the Whitney Biennial of 2017, Dana Schutz’ painting Open Casket caused an outrage. Her depiction of the dead body of Emmett Till (a black teenager who was murdered in 1955 by two men with racist motives) led to protests by black artists. According to them Schutz, who is white, should not have painted Till as it wasn’t her subject matter. Some artists called for Schutz’ painting to be destroyed. As a response to Schutz’ painting, Australian artist Hamishi Farah made a portrait of Schutz’s son that has also sparked controversy. A renowned German art magazine even decided to censor this painting. This lecture will aim to tell the stories behind both paintings and will thereby address whether artists are free to pick their source materials and subjects. It will touch on topical issues such as cultural appropriation and privacy.
Anna van Leeuwen (Utrecht, 1982) writes about visual art for the Volkskrant. She studied Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and concluded her studies with a Master in Ethics. She worked as an editor for Mister Motley, Tubelight and Hard//hoofd and as editorinchief at the magazine Kunstbeeld. Anna van Leeuwen was on the board of the Dutch branch of the International Association of Art Critics. She publishes interviews, essays, reviews, news articles and short stories. She also contributes to Broadly (Vice).
Poster design by Dayna Casey
Anna van Leeuwen
Installation by Sophie Borowska