Faculty voice:

Georgia Erger: The subject of spectatorship

July 23, 2020

Georgia Erger is the assistant curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. In this video, Georgia Erger shares background information on Ken Gonzales-Day’s "Erased Lynchings."

In "Erased Lynchings," Gonzales-Day gathers nineteenth- and twentieth-century postcards depicting lynchings of Latin Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and others, scans them, and then digitally removes the victim and the rope from each image. In doing this, Erger argues the artist is directing our attention to the spectators, who are often pointing or jeering at the (now absented) victim or staring resolutely at the camera. Erger suggests the erasure of the lynched victim paradoxically makes more visible these violent, racist acts, as well as the dynamics of whiteness that systematically erase such historical narratives and questions the role of spectators in perpetuating racist violence.