When former First Lady Michelle Obama was asked to speak at the opening of a new branch of the Whitney Museum of American Art in downtown Manhattan in May 2015, she did what comes natural for her. She made it about race, complaining that museums like this aren’t as welcoming to non-white visitors, especially children, as they are to whites:
You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood. In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum.
Her dirty pictures I would submit, but not hers alone as it turns out. According to Heat Street:
A group of black artists are [sic] protesting a painting by white New York City artist Dana Schutz for racial insensitivity.
The work, entitled “Open Casket”(2016), is based on a famous photograph from the funeral of Emmett Till—a 14-year-old African American boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being falsely accused of flirting with a white woman.
One of the artists who took issue with the work is someone named Hannah Black, who groused about the “appropriation of black suffering by white artists as another example of systemic racial oppression.” But in her open letter to the museum curators, which was signed by other artists, Black did something that no true artist would ever do: She called for the painting to be “destroyed” and “prevented from entering any market or museum.”
The article at Heat Street goes on to note that objecting to the painting has become a cause célèbre among members of the black community. Many of the reactions posted to social media are too obscene to repeat here, but one example that should suffice is a tweet that contains an image of the artist over which the words “Burn this sh*t bitch” are scrawled in red.
So, what exactly is the target of all this rage? Here it is: