Other Voices on Michael Ray Charles

Dr. Edmund Gordon, UT anthropology professor, during the Austin Museum of Art panel discussion:

"Stereotypes are the basis of racism, not ideas... Not to discuss them is to run the risk of perpetuating them."

Mia Carter, audience participant during the Austin Museum of Art panel discussion:

"I want my kids to see this work in this kind of space [at the museum]."

Houston artist Garry Reese, describing his child's reaction to Charles' painting Beware in an open letter published in ArtLies magazine:

"Daddy, what is that?"

"That, my dear, is a SAMBO."

"A sambo, oh yeah. He's Blaack!"

"Yeah, he is."

"He's got hair like Kevin."

"No, baby, Kevin's hair doesn't," Oh hell no, it must not stick, this self-hate thing, this bullcorn, with the hair, with everything, it must not take hold, "stick up like that. It falls down, remember, and it smells good, too."

"Oh yeah." And then she kept turning the pages and looking.

So you see. I have no choice but to write you this uncomfortable creature."

Anonymous black woman, to Blaffer Gallery director Don Baciagalupe after the exhibition:

"You cannot see what grows in darkness. Thank you."

John Yancy, UT art professor, in a gallery talk on Charles' art:

"These are not black images. They are a manifestation of white America's perception of race."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle