Dana Schutz’s New Exhibit Draws Protests

An 18-week exhibition dedicated to Dana Schutz’s recent work opened this week at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, and the 2015 work “Shaking Out the Bed” (pictured) is included. The show won’t be without controversy. Protestors released an open letter yesterday expressing their disappointment that the museum is honoring an artist they believe should instead be held accountable for her portrait of Emmett Till, “Open Casket” (2016), which many see not only as an insult to Till’s memory but also as a white woman’s violent vision of a history that isn’t hers. The splotchy painting of a 14-year-old Till — which sparked a protest earlier this year while on display at the Whitney Biennial as well as furious debate over censorship, race and representation, and white privilege in the art world — is not on view at the ICA. But the letter writers argue that the museum’s support of Schutz, which marks an institutional continuation of the Whitney’s own backing, will ultimately benefit both itself and an artist they believe should reap no rewards for delivering trauma.

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