Violence and representation

Following the controversy over a painting by Dana Schutz at New York’s Whitney Museum, J.J. Charlesworth questions whether an artist’s colour should limit the subjects they can represent

By JJ Charlesworth

Artist Parker Bright in front of Dana Schutz's 'Open Casket' at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Image: via twitter

What effect can paintings have on politics? It’s a recurring, never-really-resolved question, since as an artform, the history of painting is one in which the question of its power as an agent of social or political comment, comes up against its awkward cultural status – its ambiguous history of exclusivity, luxury and leisure. And while painters continue, more or less self-consciously, to want to assert the medium’s capacity for addressing the political realities of the world, when it comes to…

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