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Behind the Headlines: Dissecting the controversy over Kelley Walker's exhibit at CAM

A crowd packed the Contemporary Art Museum for a panel discussion on artist Kelley Walker's use of black bodies.
Wills Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio
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File photo: A crowd packed the Contemporary Art Museum for a panel discussion on artist Kelley Walker's use of black bodies.

On Friday’s “Behind the Headlines,” we took a deep dive into the controversy around Kelley Walker’s “Direct Drive” exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

We heard from St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jenny Simeone and Willis Ryder Arnold, who have been reporting on the issues surrounding the exhibit and public outcry over its depiction of black bodies. Some have called for the exhibit to come down in its entirety and others have said that would constitute an act of censorship.

Willis Ryder Arnold and Jenny Simeone joined "St. Louis on the Air" on Friday.
Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Willis Ryder Arnold and Jenny Simeone joined "St. Louis on the Air" on Friday.

Background: St. Louisans call for a boycott of CAM's newest exhibit, 'Direct Drive,' depicting black bodies

Background: CAM's latest exhibit leads employees to call for curator's resignation

The Contemporary Art Museum announced earlier this week that the exhibit would stay up, but it would be modified to address the controversial selection.

We also heard an excerpt from the Cut & Paste podcast, which recently hosted Jason Wilson and Shanti Parikh, a St. Louis couple who publicly expressed different views about the exhibit. They discussed the kinds of conversations they’ve had about Walker’s work and the Contemporary Art Museum. Wilson is the owner of Northwest Coffee and sits on the Contemporary Art Museum’s board. Parikh is a professor of sociocultural anthropology and African-American studies at Washington University.

Want to listen to the full cut of the podcast? Listen here. And don't forget to subscribe to Cut & Paste wherever you get your podcasts for more interviews like this. 

Editors note: Shanti Parikh serves on the board the Friends of St. Louis Public Radio.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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