White Artist Creates Life-Size Replica of Mike Brown’s Dead Body For Art Exhibition.

Michael Brown
(Image via St. Louis Post Dispatch.)

A Chicago-based gallery is currently playing host to an exhibition that blatantly profits from black pain. “Confronting Truths: Wake Up!” at Gallery Guichard, features a series of racially-charged works by Ti Rock Moore, a New Orleans-based artist who also happens to be a white woman. The exhibition, which opened this past Saturday, displays a series of works by Moore, including the Statue of Liberty in Blackface, a noose hanging from a neon sign, and a mixed-media work displaying the names of the victims of the Charleston Massacre. At the center of controversy, however, is an installation piece that consists of a life-size replica of Mike Brown’s body as it lay out in the middle of the street for hours on August 9, 2014, following his death at the hands of the police.

Many people have taken to social media to criticize the gallery for displaying a piece that is triggering and appropriative of the work of African-American artists,

“cultural appropriation, a claim of conscious white allyship that masks mining black experience, black pain, and black lives for her own profit and shallow art. #shutitdown,” writes one woman on Gallery Guichard’s Facebook page.

But the gallery’s owner Andre Guichard, won’t back down. Guichard says he hopes the show will create “something positive” from “negative images.”

Ti-Rock Moore reportedly asked Michael Brown’s family for permission before going ahead with the exhibition. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, was one of the first people to attend the show.

It also appears that whoever is manning the gallery’s Facebook page is responding to directly to detractors.

“We care about issues around race and the Michael Brown tragedy along with the 49 other conversations expressed in the other works on exhibit you have not seen,” the gallery wrote in response to a commenter, who called the exhibition an “atrocity.”

Activist Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, who visited the exhibition at Gallery Guichard, shared a short video and several images of the works on display via her Twitter account.

The video illustrates just how deeply offensive the works are. At one point, Andre Guichard appears and proceeds to give Elzie a series of defensive and condescending answers to her questions about the exhibition. He even tells her that she didn’t have a “right to be” there and tries to get her to leave the gallery.

.@GalleryGuichard's art gallery. @TiRockMoore is the artist. Chicago. pic.twitter.com/Cd0cQGUjH7

— ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) July 12, 2015

While Gallery Guichard did obtain permission from Michael Brown’s family, there hasn’t been any confirmation that similar permissions were obtained from the families of Eric Garner or the victims of the murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Andre Guichard did confirm, however, that the Michael Brown installation is not for sale and that the proceeds from all works sold would not be going to the victim’s families.