New York

Screenshot of American Artist’s Looted, 2020–. Online project.

Screenshot of American Artist’s Looted, 2020–. Online project.

American Artist

Whitney Museum of American Art

“Should the theft of sneakers and computers, or shattered windows, graffiti, or broken locks become our obsession when black people are being killed before our eyes, when the police are bashing the heads of protesters and tear-gassing people during a viral pandemic that can cause respiratory illness?” This question, posed by historian Robin D. G. Kelley in a June 2020 op-ed for the New York Times, cut straight to the meaning of the word loot. The title of the essay was written as a question: “What Kind of Society Values Property over Black Lives?” The answer: American. Yet we might have (finally) hit a tipping point. Even ex–Whitney Museum of American Art trustee Warren Kanders divested his defense company, Safariland, of its various “crowd-control solutions,” such as tear gas, about a week after law enforcement officers used the chemical weapon to clear away Black Lives Matter protesters

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