Two hours after its creation, passersby destroyed an art installment reacting to the event at Ferguson, which was made by two UW students at the George L. Mosse Humanities Building Tuesday evening.
The piece featured a black hooded sweatshirt hung upside-down from a walkway on the building with the words, “Black be nimble, black be quick, black be dead white magic trick,” written on the sidewalk in dark-colored duct tape.
Alex Jackson and Jay Katelansky collaborated on the piece, a project that has been about two weeks in the making.
“The piece isn’t just about Ferguson,” Katelansky said. “It’s about a long discourse in the history of the disposing of black bodies, and it’s important. We wanted to put this on campus because there’s conversations around this topic, and we think that it’s necessary.”
Both students are studying painting at UW. Jackson is a fourth-year student and Katelansky is a second-year graduate student. The idea behind their installation was fueled by the events that have been ongoing in Ferguson as well as the general reaction to “black deaths” in the media.
Jackson said they weren’t surprised by the way people reacted and that they expected it would be taken down at some point.
“The way people reacted further emphasizes the point being made,” he said.
I myself have three alternative theories about why some passersby speedily trashed this important expression of human creativity:
1. They thought it was kind of racist, what with the hoodie hanging ominously like a noose, the message that blacks ought to “be dead,” and the stereotype of the “quick” but brainless African-American who can be easily outwitted by a white “trick.”
2. They didn’t realize this was supposed to be art and decided to be Good Samaritans and clean up a sidewalk littered with sloppy duct-tape graffiti and and abandoned athletic wear.
3. They were Wisconsin taxpayers who wondered why they had to subsidize an art department at a public university whose main student product seems to be lousy installations.
h/t: Ann Althouse
Posted by Charlotte Allen