Around 80 National Academy of Art members in the US have written a letter in support of Dana Schutz, whose painting based on a photograph of Emmett Till’s open-casket funeral sparked condemnation when it went on show at the Whitney Biennial earlier this year.
In response to this work, a group of Boston artists and activists recently called for the cancellation of Schutz’s exhibition which opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston last month (until 26 November). “We were hoping to hear the ICA resist the narrative that Black people can be sacrificed for the greater good,” the artists wrote in a letter to Eva Respini, the curator of Schutz’s show.
Now, artists including Marina Abramovic, Chuck Close, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman and Kara Walker have written their own letter in support of Schutz and the ICA’s decision to exhibit her work. The exhibition does not include Open Casket (2016).
“As fellow artists and architects, we wholeheartedly support cultural institutions like the ICA Boston who refuse to bow to forces in favour of censorship or quelling dialogue,” they write. “It is also of the utmost importance to us that artists not perpetrate upon each other the same kind of intolerance and tyranny that we criticise in others.”
The ICA’s decision to go ahead with the survey of Schutz’s work came after a meeting on 20 July with members of the Boston art community including Megan Smith, Allison Disher, Stephanie Houten, Pampi, and Vonds DuBuisson. read more