A Pennsylvania college has barred the public from seeing a provocative art exhibition on slavery, white supremacy and racist violence against blacks, deeming it “potentially disturbing.”
The touring “Rewind” exhibition opened at York College on Aug. 31, a few weeks after the deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The show includes a display of mannequins dressed in colorful KKK-style robes, images of lynchings and artwork that deals with recent police shootings of unarmed blacks.
York officials say they decided to limit attendance to people with college IDs and invited guests.
“The images, while powerful, are very provocative and potentially disturbing to some. This is especially the case without the benefit of an understanding of the intended educational context of the exhibit,” said a statement released by college spokeswoman Mary Dolheimer.
The artist, Paul Rucker, of Baltimore, said the private college has missed an opportunity to start a dialogue about race relations. He said the show was previously mounted in Ellensburg, Washington, and Ferguson, Missouri, without any restrictions.
“There is so much more to art than pretty pictures and naked guy sculptures,” Rucker told the York Daily Record. “But there is a learning curve in showing art like this.”