A new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum examines the history of racial persecution in the US while steering clear of explicit violence. By Anna Furman
With eerie, welded sculptures, tar-coated gold panels and a menacing piano affixed to a tree, a set of black American artists is exploring the history of racially motivated violence in the US through a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America – now on view – traces the links between slavery, segregation and mass incarceration.
“There haven’t been any exhibits that try to present the perspective, reflections, and responses to lynching by survivors and victims,” explains Bryan Stevenson, a public-interest lawyer and the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. In fact, this is the first time a major art museum has used lynching as the central theme of a show. (In 1935 the NAACP organized an exhibit of illustrations and prints about lynching at New York’s Arthur U Newton gallery.)
Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching, 2006 (detail).
Brooklyn Museum, purchased with funds given by John and Barbara Vogelstein and Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, 2008.53.1a-v. © Kara Walker.