joe small
Installation Shot from Snite Museum ExhibitionInstallation Shot from Snite Museum ExhibitionInstallation Shot from Snite Museum ExhibitionInstallation Shot from Snite Museum ExhibitionInstallation Shot from Snite Museum ExhibitionThe Icing on the FaceEyes White Open (for Jack)Independence DayWhite Bread Times 2White TaleInterracial Marriage IIWigga PleaseInterracial Marriage IInvisibilityWhispersIt Hurts 1It Hurts 2It Hurts 3It Hurts 4The Condition of WhitenessThe Condition of Whiteness - detailThe Condition of Whiteness - detailPost Racial Conversation with MyselfWhite Boy Can't DreamThe White Book for YouThings I eatWhite Bread and CrackersAfro-Confederate FlagUnder the SurfaceYou're WhiteSmells like white peopleIn the hoodArizona DetentionI found out I wasn't whiteI found out I wasn't whiteNew WhitenessNew Whiteness - detailTwo KingsI tried being whiteFound Joke 2Found Joke 1
the unbearable whiteness of being
“White people are not literally or symbolically white, yet they are called white. What does this mean? In Western media, whites take up the position of ordinariness, not a particular race, just the human race.“ ~Richard Dyer

“Some people are born white; others achieve whiteness; and some have whiteness thrust upon them.” ~Phil Cohen

The objects in my work are representations of whiteness. Whites in western culture have been able to control their representation more than any other group. Through this ability, whites have been able to eliminate the markings of race by eliminating the labeling of whiteness in language, allowing whiteness to be a process, not a thing. I do not pretend to speak for all whites, nor do I pretend to collapse whiteness into my own subjectivity or personal history. However, the position of a white person speaking about whiteness is rarely acknowledged, directly empowering the condition of whiteness. The desire to make this work is to not only undermine and criticize white authority, but to also show how white authority continues to repress a large percentage of whites.

This work is made using many different types of mediums such as painting, photography, sculpture, text and video. Like the trinkets that one picks up in a gas station on a road trip, the objects are in a constant state of change because of their shifting uses of logic and historical time reference. The constant shifting is a metaphor for how the definition of whiteness is constantly shifting and changing. The way we define whiteness today is not the same way whiteness was defined 100 years ago which is not the same as 100 years before that.

The myth of whiteness is always built on the past. Picking and choosing the material that represents whiteness is often part of a biological, economic, or political agenda. Understanding the construction of whiteness allows for a more clear definition of what whiteness is and is not. This work allows for the creation of new myths while dissecting and disposing of the old myths. All of society in general has something to gain from the examination of whiteness through both the good and the bad, the old and the new.

Video interview about the work for a MFA thesis exhibition:

Snite Museum of Art YouTube Video