New Exhibit at MU Intertwines Activism and Art

Feb 9, 2017

Credit KBIA

Small memorials blanket the floor of the MU’s George Caleb Bingham Gallery. “Characterized by Tragic or Disastrous Events”, a new exhibit by Gaelen McCartney allows patrons to see the Black Lives Matter movement in relation to the art world through different mediums.

McCartney, a Philadelphia-based artist, worked on the exhibit in conjunction with this senior thesis at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Through weaving, silk screen, drawings and memorials, the exhibit breaks down the Black Lives Matter Movement in three parts.

Small memorials include stuffed animals and candles. Four weaved pieces are scattered throughout the exhibit. Some of the pieces are tightly woven, while others are loose. “Black Lives Matter” text is the only similarity between the art. The difference, to McCartney, represents the movement currently. 

“The overall end goal and point is that, messaging might be slightly adjusted, people who are not of color might not really be appropriate to talk about it but Black Lives Matter is still there and it is the main structure of the weaving together,” said McCartney.

Over 270 drawings from children in McCartney’s hometown of Newburg, NY are also featured in the art exhibit. The drawings center on the children’s view of police in their community. McCartney included the piece to show movement through the lens of a child.

To engage the community, McCartney encourages visitors to bring stuffed animals and place it wherever they see fit.

“As much as this work is my opinion and my view on the Black Lives Matter Movement, I really think it is important that it is sort of a community discussion and really a community feel. I want the viewers to leave their own ownership within the work,” said McCartney.

The exhibition runs until Thursday, Feb. 16 at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery.