Racial Tension (photograph)

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Date: 2000

Region: North America

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Installation, Photography


Artist: Bill Thomas

Confronting Bodies: Foley's Department store's CEO Tom Hogan, and African American employees of the store.

Dates of Action: March 8, 2000

Location: Foley's Department Store, Houston Texas.

Description of Artwork: The black and white photograph depicts a black man and a white man with nooses around their necks, attached to a concrete beam above them, standing on opposite ends of a see saw.

The Incident: Bill Thomas was selected to display artwork in the window of Foley's downtown store as part of an area art exhibition. The store then recanted its endorsement of the artist, concealed the installation, and had the artist de-install it. Tom Hogan, the CEO of Foley's called for the artworks removal stating that it came in repsonse to "a few complaints by African American employees who were offended by the noose imagery".

Results of Incident: Despite African American community leaders request not to remove the artwork, and efforts at conciliation by the artist, the exhibition commitee and the store management with those who had a problem with the art, the CEO of Foley's removed the artwork and refused any compromise.

Source: NCAC