“Packages travel like people” reads a luggage tag affixed to John Outterbridge’s sculpture Case in Point, ca. 1970. A flat piece of brown painted canvas is buckled around seven stuffed oblong objects whose limb-like dimensions suggest the reverse of the tag’s claim. The work embodies a thinly veiled metaphor for the representation and treatment of black people as objects, and encountering it today insinuates an unsettling continuity between the eras of Black Power and Black Lives Matter. It’s a fitting point of entry into Outterbridge’s incisive and socially conscious work.
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