170410_r29690-690Calvin Tomkins at The New Yorker:

I asked Schutz if she’d thought any more about the Emmett Till painting. “That one turned out,” she said, sounding surprised. She had put it in the Berlin show, where it caused no controversy. She found the image on her iPhone, and showed it to me. Based on a widely reproduced photograph of Till’s mutilated corpse in his coffin, the painting was dominated on one side by a mostly abstract, thickly painted head in shades of dark brown and black, and on the other side by his white dress shirt. Till’s mother had dressed him formally for his funeral, and she had insisted on leaving the casket open so that people could see what the killers had done to his face. “This is about a young boy, and it happened,” Schutz said. “It’s evidence of something that really happened. I wasn’t alive then, and it wasn’t taught in our history classes.” She was still uncertain about the painting. “I don’t know if it has the right emotionality,” she said. “I like it as a painting, but I might want to try it again.” All the Berlin pictures were sold (at prices ranging from ninety thousand dollars to four hundred thousand), but Schutz had kept two of them for herself: a painting of two men coping with oversized insects, and the Till painting, which was called “Open Casket.”

more here.