Through his work, Andres Serrano confronts the racist history of the United States. In 2019, the artist discovered that the objects that normalise blackface culture live a life of their own on eBay. He began buying and photographing these objects to remind people of how racism has been and continues to be in various forms.
“All racial groups have been caricatured in this country, but none have been caricatured as often or in as many ways as have Black Americans. Black people have been portrayed in popular culture as pitiable exotics, cannibalistic savages, hypersexual deviants, childlike buffoons, obedient servants, self-loathing victims, and menaces to society.
These anti-Black depictions were routinely manifested in or on material objects: ashtrays, drinking glasses, banks, games, fishing lures, detergent boxes, and other everyday items. These objects, with racist representations, both reflected and shaped attitudes towards Black Americans.
There is a growing desire among many Americans to forget the past and move forward. “If we just stop talking about historical racism, racism will go away.” It is not that easy.There is a growing desire among many Americans to forget the past and move forward. “If we just stop talking about historical racism, racism will go away.” It is not that easy.” – Dr. David Pilgrim, the founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum