One component of the project included a hundred photos of loved ones submitted to the artists.
One component of the project included a hundred photos of loved ones submitted to the artists. Courtesy of Christopher Paul Jordan and Jaleesa Trapp

Christopher Paul Jordan and Jaleesa Trapp's art didn't get shown at this past weekend's Black Box festival opening.

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It took a group effort to undercut Jordan and Trapp, and you can sort through the mess here on Facebook.

Or, if you would like to make a mess like this yourself, follow these easy steps.

1. Organize an event on the topic of Erasure, and feature 40 artists, of whom only two are Black, and those two are collaborators on a single work. If you happen to notice that one of the collaborators organized a protest against the exclusion of Black artists from the exhibition Art AIDS America after being told by that curator that Black artists would have to wait for the next show in order to be seen, put this out of your mind.

2. Organize your event so loosely that nobody is really accountable or overseeing the process of installation and presentation.

3. Assign the collaborators a location that requires them to stay all night reworking the piece's software, design, script, and wiring to fit this location. Do not let the fact that they spend all night reworking the piece's software, design, script, and wiring to fit this location affect anything you do next.

4. When the two Black artists tell the volunteer on duty that they will be returning later than the other artists due to work obligations, fail to pass this information along to the volunteer who will be present when this information will matter.

4. Later, when this information does matter and the Black artists are mysteriously absent, do not call them on the phone. Call out their names loudly in the room. Do this for many minutes. Still do not call them on the phone.

5. After not speaking to them, dismantle the installation they have begun to create in the space they were assigned. If you happen to notice that the art is about "the refute evidence and artifacts of Blackness," as it states in the roster of your event, on no account should you let this stop you from dismantling it. Or cause you to call them.

6. Move the piece to a less prominent spot. Do not act as if it were made of a light table, two Arduinos, a Makey Makey setup, conductive paint, conductive tape, a thermal receipt printer, two laptops, a projector, a wall board, 16 square feet of unprimed canvas, one quart of melted wax, three extra-large black candles, more than 100 printed photo cutouts of loved ones, a reflective photo umbrella, a reflective softbox interior, an LED lightbulb, 18 square feet of particle board, primer, 10 pounds of joint compound, two buckets, and a footstool. Act as if it were a simple painting to be picked up and carted across the room. Email the artists to say it has already been moved. Do not think about Rosa Parks.

7. When the artists arrive, tell them another work was more important and their work needed to be moved to make room. Still do not think of Rosa Parks. Don't worry, this is all going to go fine.

8. When the piece that they reconfigured for the original spot cannot be adapted to the new spot fast enough for the imminent opening, do not experience a mortified flash of insight and apologize. Focus on the fact that the artists arrived later than you expected.

9. When the artists go home and write about their experience on Facebook, do not call the incident an "unacceptable action of exclusion." You can say that after three more days of people attacking you and each other (or urging people to consider that there can't really be racism because Buddha) and calling for your response. For now, just go with "None of the artists were excluded."

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10. Beyond that, adopt the tone of someone who has been advised by legal counsel that stopping this whole fucking thing by admitting fault, apologizing unreservedly, and asking the artists how you can make things right will result in a future jury confiscating your home and the homes of 20 generations of your descendants.

11. Fail to communicate openly to your own co-organizers who are putting on upcoming related programs to the point that they lose confidence in their ability to make sure artists are treated professionally. When they cancel their programs, once again take all the time you need to respond.

12. Do not affirm or acknowledge the artists of color who are posting about the added pain of this happening during yet another week when police officers have shot and killed multiple unarmed Black Americans. On social media, act as if acknowledging any of that could cause people to notice, for the first time, that you are white. Focus. Just keep talking about art. Decline an interview request. Say you will issue a statement.

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