5 Artists Respond to: Charlottesville

Art doesn’t just reflect the world — it engages with it. In a new series, T magazine asks artists to submit works inspired by world events. For the first installment, Robert Longo, Andrea Bowers, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Sanford Biggers and Michael Hauptman respond to the violent events in Charlottesville, Va., and provide statements.

“Men with Torches,” 2010–2017, digital text on ink and charcoal on vellum drawing. (Longo is part of a new show, “Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo,” which runs Sept. 8-Jan. 7 at the Brooklyn Museum.)CreditRobert Longo

Robert Longo

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“As an American and as a human being, the events in Charlottesville are deeply disturbing to me. I am outraged not only by the white supremacists, the neo-Nazis and the fascists, but also by the way our president has failed to respond to this emboldened, racist cancer in our country.”


“The Treatment 33, 2016,” pen ink, gel ink and pencil on paper, © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
CreditToyin Ojih Odutola

Toyin Ojih Odutola

“Among so many other things, to be a person of America involves a particular nature of having to constantly adjust oneself to the confines of a recurring, debilitating, insidious definition — which time and again reaffirms itself in the most horrific forms. It is always beyond you: beyond history, beyond inheritance, beyond land, beyond blood; yet is comprised of disparate elements which make up what you are. You look at the news reel and see a mirror; it’s not of your reflection, but of a nation’s innards. Somehow you are still caught up in that image, you are involved. You almost fall into the trap of believing this is all your fault. Why must it always be your fault? And then you realize that this has nothing to do with you and has everything to do with what we, as a country, can afford. And after 200-plus years, the questions still hover: how far will people go to hold on to their fear? How far will they go to make that privilege known?”


“My Mom Survived the Nazis / My Dad Survived Jim Crow,” 2017.CreditAndrea Bowers, Ingrid von Sydow, and Angel Alvarado
“Young, Gifted, and Black (May Day March, 2015, Los Angeles, California),” 2016. CreditGraphite on paper, 15” H x 22” W. Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Jeff McLane

Andrea Bowers

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“My response to the…

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