Two years ago, we invited Dana Schutz for an exhibition; she is one of the leading painters of her generation, and we wanted to share the exuberance, skill, and vibrancy of her work with Boston audiences. This past March when her painting Open Casket was shown at the Whitney Biennial, there were a range of responses, including many who felt that the painting embodied privilege and had caused them pain. Art often exposes the fault lines in our culture, and Open Casket raised difficult questions about cultural appropriation, race, and representation. Though Open Casket is not in the ICA exhibition, we welcome the opportunity for debate and reflection on the issues of representation and responsibility, sympathy and empathy, art and social justice. Complex, challenging, sensitive, and urgent, these are issues deserving of thoughtful discourse, and museums are one of the few places where the artist’s voice is central to the conversation. We have designed our programs – panels, lectures, gallery talks, as well as exhibitions and performances – to offer a broad range of artistic voices and a creative space for experimentation, and we look forward to audiences having the opportunity to see for themselves the range of Schutz’s art and engaging in the art and issues of our time.
Ellen Matilda Poss Director