Incase you weren't paying attention to Nick Cave in November 2020, the American contemporary artist installed a 160-foot-long artwork titled Truth Be Told on the exterior of The School - a branch of Jack Shainiman Galleries in Upstate New York.
Intended to drive conversation and thought supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustice, the artwork was resurrected as an act of protest against propagated falsehoods, censorship, and white supremacy in America, but unfortunately was received differently by local residents and officials. City officials argued that the artwork was technically a sign and violated local law, and called for it to be removed.
Considering the underpinnings of censoring a Black artists commentary on racial injustice is rife with microaggressions, Nick Cave and Jack Shainiman Gallery started a petition for the artwork to stay put, where Cave wrote "Censorship is a crime against communities, progress, and enlightenment, not individuals. I know that the town of Kinderhook is not censoring the words I’ve formed, but rather the meaning that they’ve assigned to them and in turn the ability of others to have access to my provocation." He argued. "They are censoring the words of a Black man in a moment when our country, more so than ever, is divided on the basic principles of fact and fiction. This is not about me, but about those who come after. I am not the one who stands to lose."
The artwork is yet to be removed from the site, however the Brooklyn Museum has noted an opportunity within the battle, and museum director Anne Pasternak has plans to support Cave's work by including the piece in an exhibition which will start May 14, the artwork will be installed on an outdoor plaza. “Museums are being called on to tell the truth, from the painful to the celebratory,” says Pasternak. “We can invite a constructive conversation.”
Ahead of the Brooklyn Museum exhibition in May, the ongoing Kinderhook installation - which may be removed at the end of January - will be altered to only read "Truth”, reportedly in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Joe Biden's Inauguration. While Kinderhook might be losing a prolific work and commentary on America's present reality, the Brooklyn Museum will house it in a more accessible way, anyway.