Art & Design

Taking on Skin Color, Art and Politics in 'White'

When Americans think of race relations, they tend to think of the experiences and history of people of color. But what about the concept of "whiteness" in American society?

It's omnipresent, but largely unexamined from a racial perspective — most people who identify themselves as white assume the psychological and sociopolitical weight of their own color isn't a real issue, and don't think skin color equals entitlement and privilege.

Nayland Blake's "The Little One" i

Nayland Blake's "The Little One" Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery
Nayland Blake's "The Little One"

Nayland Blake's "The Little One"

Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery

Now the concept of "whiteness" is the subject of an exhibit at the International Center of Photography in New York City. "White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art" features works by 11 artists who confront head-on what it means to be "white" — Max Becher, Andrea Robbins, Nayland Blake, Nancy Burson, Wendy Ewald, Mike Kelley, William Kentridge, Barbara Kruger, Nikki S. Lee, Cindy Sherman and Gary Simmons.

Correspondent Cheryl DeVall talks with Maurice Berger, the curator of the exhibit, about why he chose to explore whiteness in the context of art.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from