Editor’s Note: This endorsement is part of a special edition that Hyperallergic published on the ongoing legal case to return the photos of Renty and Delia Taylor to their descendants.
* * *
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief. The daguerreotypes of Mr. Renty Taylor and Ms. Delia Taylor are valuable only because of the subjects therein. Those subjects, configured as objects in the daguerreotypes for the sole purpose of confirming European racial superiority, can be fully recognized as human subjects by granting Ms. Lanier custody of her ancestors.
The images were taken under horrific conditions and constitute more than coercion—they show an act that could only have perpetrated against bonded people during slavery. African Americans are no longer enslaved; the daguerreotypes, then, constitute fruit from a poisonous tree. They ought not to continue to be circulated, monetized, and owned according to the same logic under which they were forcibly taken.
Restituting the daguerreotypes to Ms. Lanier will not only declare that there was indeed a crime against two human beings, but that the law in the United States is equipped to dispense justice for Ms. Lanier, and for all its citizens descended from enslaved Africans.
In an exhibition that consists of mostly small-scale black and white works on paper, viewer engagement almost magically awakens the sleepy room.
Maria Maea’s All in Time continues an intergenerational conversation and exemplifies the artist’s process, not simply the finished pieces.
The program, along with recently announced visiting critics, will provide long term funding, promote access, and safeguard experimentation for future students of color.
Koestler Arts works with incarcerated people and patients in secure mental health units, aiming to improve their lives through creativity.
Local artists and culture workers are wondering how the arena will impact the arts landscape, including museums and alternative spaces.
Huaca Pintada comprises a rare mixture of elements of two northern Peruvian civilizations.
Lensa AI’s digital avatars have captivated users, but some say the app is stealing from artists and reflects racial stereotypes.
Contemporary art, original sketches, and more explore how the Japanese character sprung from the pages of a manga and became a global cultural sensation.
New research contests the myth that it was Christianity’s opposition to public nudity that led to the decline in large-scale bathing in the late Roman Empire.
An exhibition at San Francisco’s Letterform Archive highlights typography’s role in iconic social movements from the 1800s through the present.
Eleven Contemporary Artists Explore the Meaning of Shelter at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
Artists collaborate with nonprofit institutions and field experts to examine historical and contemporary determinants of housing and the feelings of safety and connection integral to places of living.
Rocks, ducks, and a self-organized survey of Gingham are some of the things to see right now in four Chicago art galleries.
Three weeks into their strike, part-time professors are escalating their protests, backed by public figures and disgruntled parents.