See Related Story

1 SRS Installation 1_adj
2 SRS Installation 2_adj
4 SRS Installation Detail_adj
5 Not Let 2 sides_web
As Adults_web
Bits_web
Coronor's Head_web
Demon Spirit Front Only_web
Golden_Rorydream_web
Golden_RoryPink Kickers_web
He Wasn't A Little Blonde Girl_web
Head_web
J.R. Circus_web
JR in Hell_web
Paint Job_web
Rally_web
Remember_web
Rising_web
Thay Thithter_web
Vigil_web
Warren Torso_web
Wrong Circus 2 Sides_web
Wrong Circus front side_web
1 SRS Installation 1_adj2 SRS Installation 2_adj4 SRS Installation Detail_adj5 Not Let 2 sides_webAs Adults_webBits_webCoronor's Head_webDemon Spirit Front Only_webGolden_Rorydream_webGolden_RoryPink Kickers_webHe Wasn't A Little Blonde Girl_webHead_webJ.R. Circus_webJR in Hell_webPaint Job_webRally_webRemember_webRising_webThay Thithter_webVigil_webWarren Torso_webWrong Circus 2 Sides_webWrong Circus front side_web

See Related Story: The Murder of J.R. Warren, 2006

ARTIST STATEMENT

Arthur “J.R.” Warren, a black gay man, was beaten and killed by two young white men, while a third white boy stood by, transfixed, immobile. After beating and kicking him unconscious, David Parker and Jared Wilson, both just shy of 18 years old, ran over Warren’s body with a Camaro to fake a hit and run accident. They were angry that Mr. Warren was allegedly spreading rumors about his sexual relations with both of them. The murder happened in Grant Town, West Virginia, in the United States of America on the eve of July 4th, 2000. Initially, Queer and African American activists demanded that this murder should be investigated as a hate crime; local authorities resisted the assertion that Warren’s race or sexual orientation played a part in the violence: “It was just something that happened between individuals, we’ll never know why.” Local LGBT community members organized a candlelight peace vigil at the Marion County courthouse, which was attended by Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. This incident brought to light public dialogue on issues of race, sexuality and violence. Eventually, the case slowed down, the furor died and the killers were convicted. A flower-strewn wooden cross etched with the word “Remember” is erected at the murder site outside town.

In August 2005, I moved to West Virginia from New York City to research Warren’s murder. I got to know people in the community, gained access to court and police records, media reports. This installation of two-sided images, reflects on the incident and its aftermath. Each work is comprised of four layers of delicate, handmade mulberry paper that carry the weight of gesso, pencil, collage, ink, paint and beeswax. One side shows dreamline images; the reverse side has a single sentence taken from my research repeated down the page like a mantra or meditation. My process makes the handwriting visible backwards. Automobile rear view mirrors, placed strategically on the gallery walls, allow viewers to read texts while in the place of the killers; the implication of the viewer in the murder becomes an inescapable part of looking. At the same time, the texts offer a multiplicity of views on the violent incident. The goal is to expand – for all viewers – what’s seen and to document the extent to which Warren’s body became a site of contestation – a symbolic battleground for factions with a vested interest in naming social reality.

Recent Posts