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Promise, Witness, Remembrance

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Speed Art Museum / Louisville / Art

In August 2014, following the police shooting of Michael Brown, the poet Claudia Rankine wrote a single haiku in response: “because white men can’t / police their imagination / black men are dying.” In her book Citizen, she had devoted pages to reflections on the police violence inflicted upon Black Americans. But she was suddenly without words, perhaps because she was waiting for justice. In time, Rankine realized it would not come, and grieved a fresh loss—the dashed hope that things might change. Six years later they still had not changed. In 2020, the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a young black woman in Louisville, set off private, collective, and national grieving. Assembled in collaboration with Taylor’s mother, this exhibition mourns Taylor through remembrance, bears witness to the pain and protest ignited by her death, and promises to never forget the Black lives taken too soon at the hands of police. Contributing artists include Terry Adkins, Kerry James Marshall, Nick Cave, Amy Sherald, and Hank Willis Thomas. —C.J.F.

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Speed Art Museum 2035 South Third Street, Louisville, KY 40208
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