Visitors reflected on the effect of the abstract works that captured and protested anti-Black violence.
It is a very interesting take to depict, expose acts of violence by abstracting it, erasing bodies or not showing them in a concrete form. There is an ambivalence in this: on the one hand: by exposing violence it is always reproached.
On the other hand: by abstraction and “erasing” the spectacle of violence is fought against. There is a provoking tension between these two sides.
Overall the exhibit was jarring for multiple reasons as a Black person. This is not bad but is a plea or call to continue to think through the space and content throughout the space. Particularly, the idea that abstraction could not play a bigger part in showing literal acts of processing of anti-Blackness as struggle.
I wish there were an informal assessment of degree of “effect” in this exhibit on the viewer. I found myself wanting the abstract to be less so—how can humans not have seen the harms? Are we rationalizing or justifying “looking away” by abstraction?
I was most impacted by the beautiful wood carvings that looked like a wonderful musical instrument. Next, it was covered by a violent red stain. This brought the feeling of intolerance, torture and betrayal to mind for me. Finally, the charred piece of destruction. Why do humans turn on their own? Are they that afraid?
Amazing powerful exhibit—most awful horrifying is the inner room with images of lynching. They are visceral and profoundly awful—and necessary. Sculpture of black man with target in front is beautiful and terrifying.
I hope many people come to see this excellent exhibition.
Powerful presentation. Good Balance of literal and representational.
Contrast of strength of Black women vs “accessories”/white women is insightful.
Very moving. Inspires strong emotions regarding the realities of our history.
A Site of Struggle showed me more about expansive effects of anti-Black violence. The piece that included the question “who took this picture?” and the pieces that were abstract string instrument bodies were the two that stick with me the most.
This exhibit depicted much of what I have read and studied. However, the emotion that was depicted through the art was something that could never have been conveyed through another medium. The art was incredible, and the metaphors conveyed were meaningful.