Dr John Blakinger speaks about the controversy surrounding Dana Shutz's painting of the body of Emmett Till exhibited at the 2017 Whitney Biennnial.
Who has the right to see in an age of image overload? At the 2017 Whitney Biennial, a painting by the artist Dana Schutz depicting the body of Emmett Till, a fifteen-year-old African-American boy lynched in Mississippi in 1955, incited outrage. The artists Hannah Black and Parker Bright condemned the work as "black death spectacle." The episode resuscitated debates over the use and abuse of traumatic pictures, and the way visual images propelling the Civil Rights movement also exploited their subjects.