Whitewalling: 3 Years Later
Convened by Rebecca K. Uchill, with presentations by Dell M. Hamilton, Dushko Petrovich, Ana María León, and Caitlin Cherry, and responses by Paul Chan and Aruna D’Souza
12 February, 2021
Join panelists from the CAA panel “Whitewalling: 3 Years Later” for an open Q and A.
View the panel recording here and preliminary questions here (you can also use this link for the full video but without subtitles—many options!)
Official CAA Q&A: 2pm ET/1pm CT (registration needed)
Alt-CAA Q&A: 2: 45pm ET/1:45pm CT (zoom room here)
Call for papers/responses by Rebecca Uchill
Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protest in 3 Acts, authored by critical arts writer Aruna D’Souza, takes on one of the most memorable exhibition controversies of recent years. The inclusion of Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till in the 2017 Whitney Biennial sparked protests and conversations about race-based power dynamics and institutional conditions. Whitewalling places these events into historical context by examining two significant precedent “acts” from New York City exhibition history. The book has been in avid, urgent public conversation since its 2018 publication by artist Paul Chan’s Badlands Unlimited press. Whitewalling was a radical act of publication and a consequential catalyst for dialogue across many spheres of contemporary art discourse.
This panel invites reflections on Whitewalling in form and content. How, if at all, have landscapes of exhibitions and representations of racial identity and positionality changed in the brief but active timeframe since its publication? How does the book figure into broader shifts in the historiography of the long “contemporary,” including reconsiderations of avant-garde exhibition venues and the problematics of poststructuralism? What lessons can we learn about writing about—and for—the contemporary era, in looking at the quick production timeline for this project, its use of social media citations as primary sources, and the publication of art criticism by an artist-run press? The panel invites artists, art historians, curators, publishers and others to discuss Whitewalling and its themes of protest, public culture, and structural racism in American museums, canons, and society. Aruna D’Souza and Paul Chan will be featured discussants.