Friday, August 2, 2019

Being Caucasian at the Brown versus Board Art Exhibit :: Race Racial Segregation

NARRATIVE: running out of white things to wear First and foremost- it was empty. In two years this was my first time to the Krannert Art Museum. I don’t know quite how this could be, because I’m an art student. But the building is on the complete opposite end of the city from both where I live and where my classes are, so I can’t fault others for not traversing here on occasion. I walk into the Brown vs. Board of Education exhibit, and I see no one. The only people there were my friend Diane and myself, both of us are Caucasian. There was silence. Except for my dubious observation that it was indeed the display we were looking for. If the large black on white lettering describing the exhibit wasn’t enough, the black and white photography would alone have been a dead give away. I couldn’t help but think: ‘how clichà ©.’ There were a series of maybe six photos of two women: one white, the other black. The series showed them in confrontation over a chair. Who had the seat, or â€Å"power† so to speak. It wasn’t a terribly innovative piece in my mind. How many times have we seen the struggle between the two races in varying artistic genres? It was very straightforward and too simplistic for my tastes. The message was very blatant and clear, though, that the struggle between whites and blacks is indeed far from over. Turning around, I saw white dinner plates on podiums in the center of this first room. Each plate has a different inscription printed on its face. The texts mostly commemorate different individuals for their contributions to the civil rights movement. I’d have to say that this was an interesting portion of the exhibit. But I only think so looking back. At the time they were just nice shiny plates with some notable individuals names written on them. Now it seems like they have more significance. Like since they seem carefully and finely crafted it gives them more symbolic merit. Plates are common in ancient art exhibits, but they are a rarity in contemporary displays. It seems like a tactic in creating something that will be around for centuries and not be forgotten. The entrance to the second room is a striking surge of color.

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