At the Shoe Shine Stand

2010, 2:42 min, color, sound, HD video

In this piece, what appears to be the set-up for a simple dramatized joke is revealed to be a multi-faceted depiction of racial identity in America, in keeping with other performance, painting, and writing projects by Musson that track the assimilation of African-Americans and the shifting public perception of race. A white everyman visits a shoe shine stand, not to have his shoes shined, but to have his face slathered in polish matching the skin tone of one of a selection of black celebrities, whose images are displayed on a placard menu that includes Oprah, Eddie Murphy, and President Obama, among others. The comedic skit, which references a history of racial stereotypes exploited for entertainment purposes stretching back to the minstrel shows of the 19th century, questions the status of race after the election of the nations' first black president.


This work is HD video and must be shown with a 16:9, HD display.
High-Definition Video Guide