A Racially Charged Exhibition in London Is Canceled After Protests
I was lucky enough to see Donald Byrd's "The Minstrel Show Revisited" earlier this year. It was powerful. It was shocking. It turned me inside out. It was beautiful. It was terrifying. I think about it almost every day.
Art - good art - should become a lens through which we see something in a new way. If that makes you uncomfortable, it may be because what you are seeing in a new way is yourself, or the iniquitous world you move through so easily, or the rot in a system that you had, until now, supported unthinkingly. To silence or destroy something because you don't like the way it makes you feel is worse than simply failing to confront it. It erases the possibility of others confronting what you're afraid to.
A (white South African) friend of mine shared this:
"I saw an earlier iteration of Exhibit B in Grahamstown and it left me devastated. It is complicated and difficult, and it effect resides precisely in the risks it takes. It purposefully locates its performance at the very edge of the fucked-up historical aesthetic it draws from. I can't laud it unquestioningly. I can't condemn it out of hand. I have rarely seen such beauty and such horror coincident and it left me in deep political, moral, ethical, historical, aesthetic discomfort. Frankly, I am thankful for the piece and worried by it. It may well be profoundly inappropriate, but it may also be utterly brilliant.
"If I do have a polemic, however, it is this. I would choose a piece of dangerous art that demands an intimate encounter with impossible horror over a self-righteous and doctrinaire mob mentality every day of the week."