, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Hello, world. I'm proud to share my first full story for @nytimesarts. It's about a project by artist Michael Rakowitz that honors Tamir Rice, and also about the complexity of telling a story that's not your own.
I had so many conversations about this project, and there's so much that didn't make it into the piece. But I hope and think it gets at a small piece of a much larger issue we need to grapple with.
OK, OK, some more thoughts, prompted by @TylerGreenDC. I've been fascinated by this project since it was first announced three years ago because it seemed to marry the conceptual underpinnings of contemporary art with real-world political issues. That's rare.
But I was also really wary of the potential for appropriation. Could an artist who wasn't black and wasn't from Cleveland really make a project about Tamir Rice that didn't feel exploitative?
To me, the most important moment in this story was when Michael finally met with Samaria Rice, Tamir's mother. It came too late, but it was crucial that it came at all. I don't think I would have written the story otherwise.
And I was impressed with the way Michael and the whole "A Color Removed" crew adapted and changed the project as they received criticism and feedback. They got it to a place where it had both a conceptual framework and a community one.
I'm not ready to say that this is a model, but in the wake of Dana Schutz's Emmett Till fiasco, I'd say that this represents a better way. Most important: artists must remember that they may see the world as raw material, but that raw material is often in fact people's lives.
I thought I was done, but one more thought: That's why it was extremely important to me to include not only Michael Rakowitz's voice, but also Samaria Rice's. This is a story about an art project AND a story about her son.
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