The Widowmaker and Doing God's Work (paintings)

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Artist: Reinaldo A. Dennes and Shanon Playford

Year: 2007

Date of Action: March 12, 2007

Region: North America

Location: Austin, Texas

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Religion

Medium: Painting

Confronting Bodies: Texas Representative Borris Miles

Description of Artwork: The two artworks were part of a display in the Texas State Capitol Building. The Texas Moratorium Network, an anti-death penalty group, was responsible for the display, and so many of the pieces addressed the issue of capital punishment. "The Widowmaker," by Reinaldo A. Dennes, a prisoner on death row, features two white men watching a black man hang while another black prisoner looks on. "Doing God's Work" features a man tied to an electric chair, with the title of the work written underneath.

The Incident: Texas state Representative Borris Miles was walking through the building with his two children when he walked past the art display. He took down "The Widowmaker" and "Doing God's Work" because "As a black man, I was offended on the first one, and as a Christian on the second one." [1] Miles also called for further oversight over the art selection process.

Results of Incident: Although the event was widely reported on in such newspapers as the Austin Chronicle and The Los Angeles Times, the artwork remained down until the display ended.


The Widowmaker
Doing God's Work

See also