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Michelangelo Lovelace, You Have The Right To Remain Silent, 2013
Michelangelo Lovelace, You Have The Right To Remain Silent, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 27 1/4 x 23 3/4 inches (69.22 x 60.33 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Museum purchase with funds provided by Susan Brill Hershfield and Michael Hershfield, 2020.11.1. © Michaelangelo Lovelace. Courtesy of the artist and Fort Gansevoort.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Michelangelo Lovelace paints highly detailed street scenes of his hometown and other U.S. inner cities. These visual documentations capture in vivid color both the mundane aspects of urban living as well as tensions surrounding race and class in diverse communities throughout the country.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent depicts a daily scene on a busy street through the use of deep perspective that leads to Cleveland’s historical Terminal Tower, topped by a U.S. flag. The street’s commercial storefronts like Weave World Beauty Shop/Real Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern Hair, and Yo MaMa Soul Food, along with people of many races and ethnicities filling the road and sidewalks, speak to a vibrant midwestern community. At the right, a white figure spray paints a mural of Cleveland Police Department cars on a brick wall, with the phrases “just-us” and “1 Love” above. A bright red billboard reminds the city of a Biblical verse, beginning, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

The title of Lovelace’s painting, You Have the Right to Remain Silent, belies the sunny, peaceful atmosphere, as it references an arrest scene and the recitation of Miranda Rights by a police officer. With the recent growth of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, among many others, Lovelace’s painting is a reminder of the racial inequality and violence that continue to plague this country.

— Molly Boarati, Associate Curator

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