Protest or Profit: Could Artists Be Exploiting Victims Who Are Killed By Police?

Artist Parker Bright protesting the display of Dana Shutz's painting Open Casket at the Whitney Museum in 2017.

Yvonne Bynoe's article in Black Art in America questions how and why artists center the violence and suffering that Black people face within their artwork. The article revisits the Whitney Museum's controversial decision to display Dana Shutz's painting Open Casket (2016), which references Emmett Till’s coffin photograph. Bynoe challenges the idea that it is an artist's right to illustrate deceased loved ones as they please. She ends the article wondering how the families of these victims of violence can advocate for their loved one's image in the public.

"The truth is that for centuries, museums, galleries, and art publications excluded the work of Black artists thus impeding their ability to freely express their ideas and perspectives in the public sphere." - Yvonne Byone