Conceptual artist and writer Hannah Black is best known for her open letter criticizing the curators of the 2017 Whitney Biennial for exhibiting Dana Schultz's painting Open Casket. In it, Black lambasts Schultz, a white artist, for utilizing the racially traumatic image of Emmett Till's open casket to ultimately benefit her own career. "Although Schutz’s intention may be to present white shame," writes Black, "this shame is not correctly represented as a painting of a dead Black boy by a white artist — those non-Black artists who sincerely wish to highlight the shameful nature of white violence should first of all stop treating Black pain as raw material." Black's explorations of communism, feminism, afro-pessimist theory, pop music, and her own life culminate in video, text, and performances.
Solo exhibitions of Black's work include Small Room, mumok, Vienna; Soc or Barb, Bodega, New York (all 2017); and Not You, Arcadia Missa, London (2015). Selected group exhibitions include In The Flesh (Part Two), Gallery Diet, Miami; and Welt Am Draht, Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin (both 2016); The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku; and Does Not Equal, W139, Amsterdam, (both 2015). In 2017 her performance OR LIFE OR was presented at PS1 MoMA, New York. Her writing has been published in Tank, The New Inquiry, Texte zur Kunst, Artforum and frieze d/e. Her book Dark Pool Party (Dominica/Arcadia Missa) was published in 2016 and Life (Walther König/mumok), written in collaboration with Juliana Huxtable, was published in 2017.