Another Bad Artist Appropriates

According to Hyperallergic http://hyperallergic.com/324466/appropriated-images-of-black-people-spark-boycott-of-st-louis-museum/  there are protests at the St. Louis Museum from an exhibit of a white southern-born artist appropriating images of African-Americans and then defacing them with toothpaste and chocolate – which he then labels as ‘fine contemporary art’ and the museum honors with a solo show. Museum director Lisa Melandri is SHOCKED, JUST SHOCKED the black community would find Kelley Walker’s art offensive – probably because she is brain dead. What could possibly be wrong with a white southern appropriation artist defacing racially charged black imagery to sell tickets to rich white museum goers? It could only be worse if Walker had decided to use images of lynchings. Didn’t anybody on the museum staff even consider how this show might convey a message of white privilege and arrogance? Worse, at an ‘Artist Talk’ at the museum, the artist apparently could not, or would not, explain his use of black images and of racial injustice, preferring to concentrate on ‘technical aspects’ of his work. COWARD! If you’re going to steal images from others, at least know WHY YOU CHOOSE THEM! Many local artists are offended by the show and the artist’s ‘rude and defensive manner’ and are calling for a boycott of the museum. It is obvious this show is insensitive to blacks and the local community but it is also insensitive to the original artists who produced the appropriated magazine covers and photographs. How long has this artist labored in the isolation of the New York Art World to become blind to people and to stealing images? There really is no justification for such callousness. It is not only just but necessary to boycott ANY appropriation artist at any museum or gallery show, especially if the theft offends the disadvantaged to benefit the powerful. Call this appropriation a ‘visual gentrification’ – and I hope a protest in the Midwest is just the start of opposition to this social opportunism.

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