Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Open Casket (2016)
Our maker gave us to each other. Our parents, and their parents, helped to make our faces. Emmett Till (1941-1955) had a beautiful wide-eyed face that was as much his parents' faces as it was his own. Murderers Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam took Emmett Till's face and abstracted it until their fears were momentarily allayed. Emmett Till's mother chose to show that face to the world -- both in person and in photographs -- after her son's body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River and prepared by staff at A. A Rayner & Sons Funeral Homes. Now, over sixty years since his murder, Dana Schutz has made a painting of Emmett Till's funereal face and some people are calling not for a conversation about this painting, but for its destruction.