Visitors to the Whitney Museum hoping to see the most controversial painting in this year’s biennial — or the protesters blocking it and calling for its removal — may be frustrated. The small fifth-floor alcove containing Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket” (2016) — a painting based on a 1955 photograph of the body of Emmett Till in his casket — and a handful of other works, was closed to the public over the weekend because of a water leak.

“Following the heavy rainstorm on Friday night, some moisture became apparent in the gallery,” a Whitney spokesperson told Hyperallergic. “As a precaution we temporarily removed from view works that were in that space: two paintings by Julien Nguyen, Dana Schutz’s painting ‘Open Casket,’ and four videos by Maya Stovall. There was no damage to any of the works.”

Update, 4/6: The Whitney confirmed that the works by Nguyen, Schutz, and Stovall had been put back on view in time for the museum’s opening to the public on the morning of Wednesday, April 5. There had been no further leaks in the gallery.

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...

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