Currently on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is an exhibit dedicated to painter Dana Schutz. The eponymous show explores the last fifteen years of Schultz's meteoric rise to fame, including twenty-one works painted between 2002 and 2017.
Though two new paintings, Conflict (2017) and To Have a Head (2017), are part of the show, it's worth noting that Schutz's Open Casket (2016), a painting depicting fourteen-year-old Mississippi lynching victim Emmett Till, is absent from the ICA retrospective. That painting sparked much debate over cultural appropriation, white privilege, and censorship. Some protesters even called upon the ICA close the current exhibition. In response, the museum moderated a panel called "Representation and Responsibility in Creative Spaces" on September 28th focused on creative license and cultural appropriation in the 21st century.
Schutz's work is filled with explorations of struggle and confrontation. In other words, in her over-the top, in-your-face style, Schutz appears to be painting what it means to live a modern life in 2017. While there's no doubt the painter has become something of a lightning rod for social discourse, this show offers the viewing public a fresh opportunity to examine her work and decipher her thoughts on walking the fine line between exhilaration and humiliation.
Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, through Nov. 26. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org