The picture on the right shows a racist ‘symbolic political display’ in the Bay Area exurb of Morgan Hill, Calif. It was apparently erected by local resident Blake la Beck, reports KTVU-TV. The display features two watermelons, a noose and a ‘Romney for President’ sign. A nearby object set up to recall a teleprompter included a text panel that said, ‘Go back to Kenya.’
As I’ve noted before during this election season, artist Carrie Mae Weems has anticipated this kind of racism in her work for decades. The image at right is Weems’s Black Man Holding Watermelon from the series “Ain’t Jokin’” (1987-88). (Larger image here.) It’s among the work Weems and I discussed when she was on last week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast. A major retrospective of Weems’s work is now on view at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville.