We appreciate the patience and support we have received from our friends during this controversial time. We understand that for many our reactions have not been swift enough. We wanted to evolve and seek understanding from our community, our artists and the artist creating the work in this controversial and complicated situation. After a twenty year relationship with Billy Schenck, and considering the impact and power his images have, we have decided to pause our representation of Billy Schenck. We are taking this break with all his work to understand the depth and breadth of the effect his imagery has with our community. We are reviewing all aspects of his work to decide if any is appropriate for representation by Modern West. We regard and have appreciated our long-standing relationship with Billy. We consider him a friend. We are hopeful that this experience will change all of us for the better, with more empathy and understanding. We are hopeful that Billy’s journey will continue with heightened awareness and sensitivity with new eyes towards his art process and narratives. It has certainly enlightened our perspective, and we acknowledge the negative and harmful impact to our indigenous populations that Billy’s caption work created, even though that was not the intent of the artist. We also acknowledge that the lack of curation with Billy’s last show was a huge mistake on our part. Certainly the correct curation would have provided us with the insight needed to see how the work does not align with our community standards, nor the standards of the gallery.
We believe art is an important means in facilitating social change and deeper understanding, and we value your opinions. In light of recent feedback on social media regarding Modern West‘s representation of Billy Schenck’s caption paintings, and his book Navajo Wars, we have been reviewing our positions on appropriation and impact to under-represented populations, especially Indigenous Peoples.
Thank you for all of your feedback we welcome any questions and are reviewing your comments. If you would like to add anything further please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org