Artist Neïl Beloufa has removed an image of artist Parker Bright protesting Dana Schutz's Open Casket (2016) painting at the 2017 Whitney Biennial from his Palais de Tokyo exhibition. Following the opening of Beloufa's show, Bright started a campaign on Gofundme, raising funds to help him 'reclaim his image’ by flying him to Paris to stage a protest at the institution. Beloufa, along with curator Guillaume Désanges, sent a letter to Bright apologising and confirming the removal of the work, but Parker is still planning to go ahead with his protest. ‘I believe that Beloufa is appropriating my narrative without consent,’ Bright wrote in the description of his campaign, which had raised more than $2,600 so far. ‘The more troubling to me as a Black artist,’ he continues, ‘is that I am being used as raw material, just like Dana Schutz did to Emmett Till in her rendition at the Whitney Biennial.’
Last May, Bright staged a protest during the opening days of the Whitney Biennial, standing in front of Dana Schutz's Open Casket (2016) wearing a t-shirt that read 'Black death spectacle'. This initiated a wider controversy around the painting, which was seen by many as appropriating the suffering of African-Americans by a white artist.
Bright told Artnews he wasn’t satisfied with Beloufa and Désanges’s email, and that he expects to receive a public apology from the artist and the Palais de Tokyo.
Read Kenan Malik on cultural appropriation
19 February 2018